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Ongoing project

Pre-harvest sanitisation of leafy green vegetables (VG22008)

Key research provider: University of Tasmania

What's it all about?

This project is conducting a literature-based review of potential management options for pre-harvest contamination of leafy green vegetables and other salad products.

Post-harvest sanitisation cannot be relied on to fully eliminate pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes. Therefore, the first risk reduction step in the supply chain from farm to consumer is preventing crop contamination by removing contamination sources.

The literature review will use the extensive database and international literature on leafy vegetable crop food safety and sanitation expertise at the Food Safety and Innovation Centre of the University of Tasmania. It will consider all pre-harvest treatments relevant to Australian leafy green vegetable production systems that may be applied on farm, in addition to irrigation water. 

The review will evaluate existing evidence that pre-harvest water treatment and sanitation via irrigation water can effectively minimise or eliminate microbial pathogens in leafy green vegetable crops. It will consider the current information on the effectiveness, timing, application rates and costs of treating irrigation water and using it with added food-permitted antimicrobials to treat crops pre-harvest. It will also cover the available information on potential environmental and legislative issues for the field application of antimicrobials. 

The research team will provide recommendations for any further R&D investment needed in this area and how treatment options could be used in an Australian context. Additionally, industry fact sheets will be prepared on the project findings and recommendations, considering the perceived benefits of adding additional pre-harvest microbial management activities to existing microbial management practices.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund