Fresh Produce Safety

Information on COVID-19 and Food Safety is available at OSU Fruit and Vegetable Safety Program

Food safety is critical to the fresh produce industry in Ohio. In addition to being a major public health concern, food safety issues have had an adverse economic impact on growers, packers, processors and shippers of fresh produce.  Approximately half of all foodborne outbreaks in the US are due to the consumption of fresh produce, threatening both the health of consumers and the sustainability of the industry.  However, there are currently no strategies that are singularly effective in removing the pathogens from fresh produce. Given the increase in outbreaks associated with the consumption of contaminated fresh produce there is a critical need to better understand the etiology, epidemiology and ecology of foodborne pathogens in the environment.  Our goal is to provide growers with improved management practices so that both the grower and the consumer can be confident that their food is safe.

Dr. Lewis Ivey is Co-team Leader of The OSU Extension Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team and conducts research on identifying pre-harvest practices to mitigate food safety risk associated with water.

Water Management
Dr. Lewis Ivey’s food safety research program focuses on water management. Growing fruits and vegetables is water intensive.  Water is used at every stage of production and is a carrier of both human and plant pathogens.  The risk level associated with water depends on the microbial quality of the water and the application for which it is being used.  Her research over the past 12 years has addressed several gaps in our knowledge pertaining to the level of plant disease and food safety risks associated with contaminated surface and recycled hydroponic water and emergency flooding events.

Good Agricultural Practices and Fresh Produce Food Safety Rules
Dr. Lewis Ivey’s food safety Extension program emphasizes the use of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to mitigate on-farm food safety and plant disease hazards.  GAPs are a series of voluntary management guidelines that can help to reduce the risks of microbial contamination of fruits and vegetables. GAPs can be incorporated into any production system and target pre-harvest and post-harvest practices.  Dr. Lewis Ivey specializes in Plain grower trainings and program development.  To learn more about the GAPs program at OSU and training opportunities please visit The OSU Extension Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team website.