Developing the Logistics for Producing Human Pathogens-Free Organic Strawberries in the State of Tennessee.

  This project is completed as of June 2014  

Strawberry Madison Creek Farms Entrance

    While there is little doubt that clean and healthy produces is highly desirable, achieving this status can sometimes a problem-particularly with more delicate fruits like strawberries that can be difficult to wash without causing physical damage. Through this project funded by a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, Dr. Zhou and her team worked to identity human pathogens on strawberries, to understand the potential points of contamination, and develop science-based methods and practices that can be applied to sustainably produce organic strawberries that are free from this potentially dangerous  contamination.

    Effects  on strawberry sustainability: 
The sustainability of the strawberry industry depends on its ability to produce products that meet the changing demands of its customers. Changing population structures and demographics together with a growing awareness of food safety issues have combined to microbial contamination, particularly of those organisms that are known to cause diseases in humans. This project will apply cutting-edge technologies developed in both the biological and physical sciences to address critical issues facing the marketability of fresh strawberries. The information and best practices developed in this project will be introduced in the State of Tennessee under the auspices of Tennessee State University to promote safe and healthy strawberry production. Through the involvement of the USDA-ARS, and with appropriate modification, they can be adopted in other states. thus, through the implementation of practices and information generated through this project we will enhance both the production and sustainability of the strawberry industry in the United States.

Two priority areas in this project:
1) Reduce the risk of human pathogens on fresh berries;
2) Implement meaningful and constructive metrics for strawberry production sustainability.

The details about the project can be found in the link below

Accomplishments of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative (2013 - 2014)

webpage contact:
Agricultural Sciences