Thanks to a multi-state grant from the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative, researchers at four Mid-Atlantic institutions (the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the University of Delaware, and Rutgers University) are working to develop scientifically-based consensus food safety protocols (or “metrics”) for tomatoes and leafy greens. The project aims to generate scientific and technological knowledge to develop, refine or defend food safety protocols that can then be implemented on a national or regional basis for both domestic and imported produce. This goal can only be achieved by combining data from experimental research trials with data from local growers.
As part of the project, Professor Erik Lichtenberg at the University of Maryland College Park is conducting an electronic survey of small- and medium-sized farms to determine the cost-effectiveness of different food safety risk-reduction strategies for tomatoes and leafy greens (including lettuce, spinach, kale, mustard greens and cabbage). The survey is completely voluntary and responses are kept confidential. If you grow tomatoes or leafy greens, please take a few minutes to complete the online survey (http://www.foodumd.org). Responses are kindly requested by June 30, 2013. Questions about the food safety survey should be directed to Erik Lichtenberg at email@example.com or (301) 405-1279.