Featured stories and content

FEATURED CONTENT
NC Cooperative Extension Service

Choosing and Using
Chlorine-Based Products

A serious issue has been brought to the attention of the North Carolina Fresh Produce Task Force (NCFPSTF) regarding the use of household bleach mixed with soap when washing and disinfecting fresh produce. We want to remind you that only FOOD GRADE chlorine-based disinfectants can be used when disinfecting fruits and vegetables. Most growers have a ready-to-eat product that can only be in direct contact with chlorine solutions that are approved under the food code of federal regulations Chapter 21 CFR Part 173.  Please also avoid mixing non-food-grade soaps or other chemicals that are not food grade and/or not intended to be used in combination with chlorine solutions. Chlorine will react with some of these chemicals generating carcinogenic compounds that will remain in direct contact with the fruit or vegetable being disinfected. If you are in doubt of which food grade chlorine-based disinfectants to use in direct contact with fruits and vegetables or how to handle and prepare these solutions, please refer to the pamphlet linked below describing this and other important aspects linked to food grade chlorine-based disinfectants. The NCFPSTF will be hosting workshops in the next two months targeting this specific practice.  Further information of the locations, dates, and times will be provided in the near future.  A small video will also be available for all to download soon. FBNS Fact Sheet: Choosing and Using Chlorine-Based Products (PDF) Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez, PhD Assistant Professor - Extension Specialist egutier2@ncsu.edu

READ THE REST »
NC Cooperative Extension Service

Choosing and Using
Chlorine-Based Products

A serious issue has been brought to the attention of the North Carolina Fresh Produce Task Force (NCFPSTF) regarding the use of household bleach mixed with soap when washing and disinfecting fresh produce. We want to remind you that only FOOD GRADE chlorine-based disinfectants can be used when disinfecting fruits and vegetables. Most growers have a ready-to-eat product that can only be in direct contact with chlorine solutions that are approved under the food code of federal regulations Chapter 21 CFR Part 173.  Please also avoid mixing non-food-grade soaps or other chemicals that are not food grade and/or not intended to be used in combination with chlorine solutions. Chlorine will react with some of these chemicals generating carcinogenic compounds that will remain in direct contact with the fruit or vegetable being disinfected. If you are in doubt of which food grade chlorine-based disinfectants to use in direct contact with fruits and vegetables or how to handle and prepare these solutions, please refer to the pamphlet linked below describing this and other important aspects linked to food grade chlorine-based disinfectants. The NCFPSTF will be hosting workshops in the next two months targeting this specific practice.  Further information of the locations, dates, and times will be provided in the near future.  A small video will also be available for all to download soon. FBNS Fact Sheet: Choosing and Using Chlorine-Based Products (PDF) Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez, PhD Assistant Professor - Extension Specialist egutier2@ncsu.edu

READ THE REST »
berries

Human Noroviruses,
Berries, and Resources

With the recent recall of frozen berries, implicating pomegranate seeds with Hepatitis A it is even more important to be aware of noroviruses. Human noroviruses are the most common cause of food borne disease, responsible for more than 5 million cases in the United States each year. Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Molluscan shellfish like oysters, clams and mussels; fresh produce; and foods that are extensively handled just prior to consumption are at greatest risk for contamination. The NoroCORE Team has developed one-page information factsheets for the berry industry, one specifically for farm management and one for harvesters. These information sheets explain the risks posed to the berry industry by norovirus and hepatitis A virus contamination, as well as important measures that can be taken on the farm to control and prevent virus contamination of berries. Click the links below to view and download PDFs of the information sheets. For Berry Farm Management For Berry Farm Harvesters

READ THE REST »
Cantaloupes are among the crops that could benefit from postharvest washing with naturally occurring mircrobials to help prevent E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella contamination in organic produce. Photo by Justin Moore, N.C. State University.

NC State, UT
Scientists Secure $2M to Improve Organic Produce Safety

A group of scientists at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture andNorth Carolina State University are working together to improve the safety of organic produce – naturally. Their study, “Alternative Post-harvest Washing Solutions to Enhance the Microbial Safety and Quality of Organic Fresh Produce,” began last fall. Cantaloupes are among the crops that could benefit from postharvest washing with naturally occurring mircrobials to help prevent E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella contamination in organic produce. Photo by Justin Moore, N.C. State University.[/caption] “The goal of the project is to provide safe, alternative, sustainable and effective treatments to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by E. coli,Listeria and Salmonella contamination in organic produce,” said Zhong.The four-year, multidisciplinary project is supported by a nearly $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative(OREI) program. Dr. Qixin Zhong, an associate professor in the UT Department of Food Science and Technology, leads the initiative. The group hopes to provide those effective treatments in the form of alternative organic antimicrobials — naturally occurring substances such as organic essential oils that fight pathogens like E. coli — added to postharvest wash water. “To improve microbiological safety of organic produce, there is an urgent need to develop washing practices that not only enhance sanitation effectiveness but also fulfill the requirement of organic fresh produce,” said Zhong. As part of the project, the researchers also will evaluate the economic feasibility of their work and impact on the shelf life of various types of organic produce. “The research team is very eager to make sure the outcomes from this project will be applicable to organic growers throughout the United States,” said Faith Critzer, a UT Extension specialist and faculty member of the UT Department of Food Science and Technology. To achieve that goal, researchers partnered with a group of organic produce growers who will provide feedback throughout the study. In addition, the team will share research findings through webcasts, written fact sheets and a series of workshops held in Tennessee and North Carolina. The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; the UT College of Veterinary MedicineUT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers; and UT Extension offices in every county in the state. North Carolina State University’s project team includes an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the Plants for Human Health Institute, N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, all of which are part of the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences(CALS). CALS’ mission is to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of North Carolina and the world. Project partners include Dr. Qixin Zhong, associate professor in the UT Department of Food Science and Technology; Faith Critzer, UT assistant professor and food safety extension specialist; Dr. P. Michael Davidson, UT professor of food microbiology; Dr. David Lockwood, UT professor and extension specialist in fruit and nut crops; Dr. Annette Wszelaki, UT assistant professor and commercial vegetable extension specialist; Jonathan Baros, farm and agribusiness management with PHHI; Dr. Jeanine Davis, NCSU associate professor and extension specialist in organic crops; Dr. MaryAnne Drake, NCSU professor in sensory analysis and flavor chemistry; Diane Ducharme, GAPs program coordinator and extension associate in horticulture and food safety with PHHI; and Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie, professor and postharvest physiologist with PHHI. Media Contacts University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (lead) Dr. Faith Critzer, Assistant Professor and UT Extension Specialist, 865-974-7274,faithc@utk.edu North Carolina State University Justin Moore, Extension Communications, 704-250-5433, justin_moore@ncsu.edu

READ THE REST »
FDA-FSMA-200x221

FDA's FSMA Proposed
Rules and Resources

PowerPoint Created to Assist Growers in Understanding the Two FSMA Proposed Rules. In cooperation with the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, NCSU/NC Cooperative Extension have developed a powerpoint slide presentation outlining the details of the proposed produce safety rule as well as the preventative controls rule.

READ THE REST »
At the moment, there are no upcoming events listed.
NEWS View All

Human Noroviruses, Berries, and Resources

With the recent recall of frozen berries, implicating pomegranate seeds with Hepatitis A it is even more important to be aware of noroviruses. Human noroviruses are the most common cause of food borne MORE »

Navigating the USDA GAP Audit

North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are partnering with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to deliver workshops across the state with the aim of providing farmers with the tools to reduce food MORE »

Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series

North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are partnering with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to deliver workshops across the state with the aim of providing farmers with the tools to reduce MORE »

NC Cantaloupe Outreach Pilot Program

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is partnering with N.C. State University Cooperative Extension to offer the N.C. Cantaloupe Pilot Program. The N.C. cantaloupe pilot program will consist of education and outreach MORE »

More News