LSU AgCenter awarded grant for food safety training

Olivia McClure  |  10/18/2018 7:54:52 PM

(10/18/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter has received a grant of about $150,000 that will fund food safety training efforts.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the grant to AgCenter food safety specialist Achyut Adhikari this week.

The training program will focus on food safety risks associated with water from irrigation and other sources on farms.

Adhikari is planning several workshops to teach produce growers about water rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act as well as methods to treat water. Dates will be announced later.

“The overall goal of this project is to reduce the food safety risk associated with the surface water source in Louisiana,” Adhikari said.

Many fruit and vegetable producers rely on surface water — which can carry bacteria and pollutants — for irrigation.

“Producers are looking for a water treatment process that does not leave any residue that adversely affects crop production or soil quality,” Adhikari said.

The workshops will feature information on treatments developed by the AgCenter and validated on farms, he said. The treatments include chlorine dioxide, ultraviolet light and zeolite filtration.

The trainings also will include hands-on activities with a mobile, small-scale water treatment system.

The Southern University Ag Center, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Produce Safety Alliance and several other organizations will be collaborators on the project, Adhikari said.

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LSU AgCenter food safety specialist Achyut Adhikari collects a surface water sample. Photo provided by Achyut Adhikari

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