New Study To Help Growers Implement Water Treatment, Minimize Food Safety Risks

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Faith Critzer, a food safety specialist with University of Tennessee Extension, will lead a new multistate research and outreach project to help fruit and vegetable growers mitigate the risks their water sources might pose to the safety of their produce.

This effort is made possible through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Food Safety Outreach Program. The $522,000 grant was announced in October. Ms. Critzer and her colleagues at the University of Tennessee, Annette Wszelaki, a vegetable production specialist, and John Buchanan, a biosystems engineer, have joined with Extension specialists from New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. This team’s work will help growers understand and become compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) produce safety rule.

“In our roles as Extension specialists, members of our team have received numerous questions and have had many discussions with growers who currently use surface water for irrigation or application of preventive sprays,” said Ms. Critzer. “The growers understand that surface water can become contaminated with microorganisms that can make people ill if consumed, also known as foodborne pathogens, and they do not want to rely upon monitoring via water testing, which only gives a snapshot of one period in time and may not detect intermittent problems that commonly arise with these water sources.”  So to help the growers protect their produce, Ms. Critzer and the other team members are working to develop training that will equip them with the knowledge to successfully implement water treatment systems on their farms.

Specifically, the team plans to develop a curriculum to educate growers of all sizes and backgrounds about agricultural water treatment systems. Once developed, the Extension specialists will share their curriculum with other specialists who will then train growers. The team also plans to evaluate the short-term and medium-term outcomes that adoption of the curriculum and knowledge of the technology achieves in terms of improved compliance with FSMA regulations.

“Fruit and vegetable growers are concerned about the standards for water applied in the field during irrigation and in protective sprays,” said Ms. Critzer. “This curriculum, which will include hands-on demonstrations, should help growers understand the water quality standards and help them make educated decisions about how to use water treatment systems for this purpose and what systems may work best for their farms.”

Ms. Critzer and her team are very pleased to be tackling this project. “This funding addresses a need that has come directly from our clientele,” she said. “The growers are well educated. They know that foodborne pathogens can potentially come from the environment such as in run-off from rain and from wild and domesticated animals. They want to be proactive in protecting the crops they are growing, and most importantly, to protect the consumers who will be eating the produce with their families,” said Ms. Critzer.

The project team expects to develop the curriculum and begin initial “train-the-trainer” sessions over the next two years.

 


Erlanger To Host Chattanooga Market On Fridays

Erlanger Health System announced a smaller version of the popular Chattanooga Market will be held every week beginning  Friday, from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m .  Created primarily for Erlanger employees but open to the community, the arrangement allows some of the community's busiest folks to participate in local food shopping.  "As a health provider, ... (click for more)

Red Lobster At Northgate Sells For $4.5 Million

The Red Lobster restaurant at Northgate Mall has sold for $4,528,461. The sale was to R L C A Properties Inc from Arcp Rl Portfolio V Llc . The location is 2131  Northgate Mall Dr . (click for more)

School Board Votes To Issue RFPs For Private School Bus Service; Allows Independent Drivers To Add 20 Routes

The Hamilton County School Board voted unanimously to issue a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) to private bus companies at a special-called session early  Saturday  afternoon.   The vote came at the end of a two-day strategy session where the school board has confronted a list of challenges but the busing question, spurred by the tragic bus wreck in November ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning On East 3rd Street

Three people were shot on East 3rd Street early Saturday morning. They were identified as Countess Clemons, 24, Kezia Jackson, 23, and Dutchess Lykes, 26.   The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 2:40 a.m. to a person(s) shot call at a local hospital. All three victims were transported to the hospital via a personally-owned vehicle.   All three ... (click for more)

A Light Rain Began To Fall - And Response (2)

Around noon Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on Earth after a long and sometimes bitter campaign where 17 GOP candidates of his own party and two of the opposing party competed for the honor.   Thousands rejoiced in the Washington D.C. streets while policemen who had come along with national guardsmen pushed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Jumoke’s Thuggery Ends

Jumoke Johnson, the most notorious criminal in Chattanooga’s recent history, was killed by a rain of bullets in the 2100 block of East 12 th Street at little after 8 o’clock Friday night and for the many of us who have kept up with the 23-year-old, you wonder how he ever lasted this long. He was aptly proclaimed as the “most dangerous man” to ever have been sentenced in Chattanooga’s ... (click for more)