Research

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS


OSU CONNECT AND COLLABORATE: Development of an Education and Outreach Program to Assist Fresh Produce Growers with Meeting Food Safety Requirements

Fresh produce is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses in the country and Ohio growers must meet federal food safety standards to ensure that their produce is safe. Understanding regulatory requirements, awareness of safe agricultural practices, and developing and following written food safety plans (FSP) are critical steps toward minimizing the risk of on-farm produce contamination. OSU lags behind other land grant universities in providing fresh produce safety education and training programs. In addition, stakeholder awareness of fresh produce safety programming available at OSU is low compared to their awareness of programming in other states.  We have formed a team of Food Safety State Specialists, Extension educators, OSU students, community organizations, and industry partners to provide a diverse group of Ohio growers with the tools and resources needed to supply consumers with a safe product. In order to achieve our goal in improving fresh produce safety and sustaining the fresh produce industry, we will form a fresh produce safety education and training cooperative with participating food safety experts from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

To address these needs, we will provide:  i) pre-harvest food safety knowledge and awareness training to new and underserved produce growers in the community; ii) farm food safety plan writing workshops and on-farm audit readiness programs; and iii) a roadmap for an OSU food safety training program for FSMA equivalence.

Team Leads:

Melanie Ivey, Ph.D., OSU Plant Pathology (Principal Co-Investigator)

Sanja Ilic, Ph.D., OSU Human Sciences, Human Nutrition (Principal Co-Investigator)

Lindsey Pender, OSU Plant Pathology (Curriculum Co-Author)

 

USDA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD & AGRICULTURE (NIFA): Food Safety Education and Outreach Programming for Plain Growers

Food safety education continues to be a challenge for limited-resource populations. Although Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are home to over half of the Amish population in the US, state educational programs are often generic and don’t adequately address the specific needs of the Amish. A stakeholder roundtable meeting identified the need for GAPs training that is more relevant to farming practices utilized by Plain growers. While many Plain growers have participated in GAPs trainings in the past and are aware of on-farm food safety hazards, it is evident that program content and delivery methods should be modified to better meet the needs of Plain growers. Plain grower GAPs training will be culturally adapted, consider sociolinguistic characteristics and consist entirely of practices utilized by Plain growers. The materials will be designed for settings without electricity. User-friendly presentation materials and food safety plan and recordkeeping templates will be developed for Plain growers. The training will be piloted by Plain growers across the tristate and complement on-going food safety trainings in these states. Completion of this project will allow us to reach a larger number of Plain growers ensuring a greater impact on fresh produce safety in the tri-state region.

The objectives of this project are to: 1) develop GAPs training addressing the unique farming and handling practices and communication requirements of Plain growers, 2) pilot Plain grower GAPs with distinct settlements in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan (tri-state), and 3) share materials with Plain grower populations through North Central Region Center for FSMA Training.

Team Leads:

Sanja Ilic, Ph.D., OSU Human Sciences, Human Nutrition (Principal Co-Investigator)

Melanie Ivey, Ph.D., OSU Plant Pathology (Principal Co-Investigator)

Lindsey Pender, OSU Plant Pathology (Curriculum Co-Author)

 

OSU CONNECT AND COLLABORATE: Food Safety Curriculum for Hydroponic Growing Systems

This Connect and Collaborate funded project focused on increasing the food safety training for hydroponic tower growing systems. 

Resources developed for this program include: 1) Youth-tailored Fresh Produce Safety training curriculum 2) Fresh Produce Safety infographics 3) Research-based recommendations for use of YETI coolers for produce transport

OSU Project Partners:

Sanja Ilic, Ph.D., OSU Human Sciences, Human Nutrition (Advisor)

Hannah Burgoon, OSU Human Sciences, Human Nutrition (Curriculum Co-Author)

Lindsey Pender, OSU Plant Pathology (Curriculum Co-Author)

 

USDA SPECIALTY CROP BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Prevention, Control and Intervention Strategies for Hydroponic Leafy Greens

The Ohio State University will develop prevention, control and intervention strategies for hydroponic leafy greens. Researchers from the Departments of Plant Pathology and Human Sciences, Human Nutrition, Wooster and Columbus, will lead this project. Project partners will establish die-off rate metrics for water contamination in regular and flooding conditions, and protocols for four different water treatments.

Team Leads:

Melanie Ivey, Ph.D., OSU Plant Pathology (Principal Co-Investigator)

Sanja Ilic, Ph.D., OSU Human Sciences, Human Nutrition (Principal Co-Investigator)