Problem. Fresh produce is an important cause of gastrointestinal illness in the US and the world.
Goal. Our goal is to provide research solutions to growers, industry, and governments that improve the microbial quality of their fresh fruits and vegetables and provide safer products for consumers worldwide.
Applied research. Our results are used to develop and evaluate food safety interventions and policy recommendations. We have identified transmission routes, risk factors, and new sampling and laboratory methods to assess microbial and viral contamination of fresh produce. We also work on the cultural, language, migration, labor, and health challenges of farmworkers that may lead to increased produce contamination. We actively work with farmworkers, growers, industry, and governments to translate and apply our research findings to policy changes. We use a combination of epidemiologic, laboratory-based, survey, economic, and qualitative methods to understand this complex challenge.
Partnerships. We share our results with important stakeholders including the government (e.g. the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA], the Mexican Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación [SAGARPA]), industry (e.g. produce groups and associations), academic partners (e.g. at scientific meetings) and our partner growers and farmworkers. We have received funding from the United States Department of Agriculture and industry towards this work.
All photos of individuals were deidentified or consents were obtained