Produce focus for food safety PhD projects

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

PhD projects look at produce safety
PhD projects look at produce safety

Related tags: Microbiology

Detection and control of noroviruses in fresh produce and foodborne pathogens on basil and strawberry are the subject of two PhD’s from the University of Gent.

The PhD of Ann De Keuckelaere, with the Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation (LFMFP), is on norovirus (NoV) while Stefanie Delbeke, also of LFMFP, looked at basil and strawberry.

The work on norovirus will be presented today (February 27) and that for basil and strawberry on Monday (March 2), according to the Department of Food Safety and Food Quality.

Data on presence and transmission of NoV in the fresh produce chain is rare, although knowledge on the prerequisites and critical points in the chain for contamination, persistence, inactivation and removal is vital for identification of effective mitigation strategies.

Delbeke’s work looks at the microbiological analysis and exposure assessment of particular case studies of fresh fruits and vegetables Salmonella and STEC in strawberries and basil. It is part of the EU FP7 Veg-i-Trade project.

Detection methods (i.e. the GeneDisc multiplex real-time PCR kit and culture methods for detection of Salmonella and STEC) needed evaluation for their appropriateness. 

Exposure to pathogens due to consumption of basil and strawberries were compared to exposure to already prior well studied items such as leafy greens.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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