Plant pathologists call for more data to support pre-harvest food safety interventions

March 24, 2009

Washington, DC (March 24, 2009) - In meetings with USDA, FDA, NSF, EPA, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy last week, key leaders from The American Phytopathological Society (APS) Public Policy Board (PPB) addressed concerns related to human pathogens on plants and noted that significantly more research is needed to ensure national food safety.

"Plant pathologists are well positioned to provide valuable knowledge on these issues, given their unique expertise investigating the complex relationships between microbes and plants," stated Jacque Fletcher, APS Public Policy Board Chair and regent's professor of plant pathology at Oklahoma State University. "APS is calling for new fundamental and practical research to identify best management practices and to investigate contamination routes, environmental survival, and interactions of human pathogens with plants in pre-harvest situations." To provide additional investment in this critical food safety research area, the APS PPB is recommending an interagency research program specifically focused on gaining fundamental and practical knowledge of human pathogen-plant interactions.

"The strategy for response must include a pre-harvest perspective," said Fletcher. "New targeted research will provide the necessary tools and strategies, as well as creative cross-disciplinary approaches necessary, to design effective solutions to microbial contamination of food plants, which is vital to the protection of U.S. crops." While increased funding for food inspections is important, checking processing sites will not prevent food contamination if human pathogens are already colonizing the plant.

Fletcher, along with other key plant pathologists, provided case studies including the outbreaks of shigatoxin-producing E. coli in spinach and lettuce, as examples of the tremendous costs and threat that these agents can create on fresh produce. These discussions were part of the annual meetings that the APS Public Policy Board has with the leadership of relevant federal agencies and departments to acquaint them with the high programmatic priorities of APS
-end-
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a non-profit, professional scientific organization. The research of the organization's 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health.

American Phytopathological Society

Related Plants Articles from Brightsurf:

When plants attack: parasitic plants use ethylene as a host invasion signal
Researchers from Nara Institute of Science and Technology have found that parasitic plants use the plant hormone ethylene as a signal to invade host plants.

210 scientists highlight state of plants and fungi in Plants, People, Planet special issue
The Special Issue, 'Protecting and sustainably using the world's plants and fungi', brings together the research - from 210 scientists across 42 countries - behind the 2020 State of the World's Plants and Fungi report, also released today by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

New light for plants
Scientists from ITMO in collaboration with their colleagues from Tomsk Polytechnic University came up with an idea to create light sources from ceramics with the addition of chrome: the light from such lamps offers not just red but also infrared (IR) light, which is expected to have a positive effect on plants' growth.

How do plants forget?
The study now published in Nature Cell Biology reveals more information on the capacity of plants, identified as 'epigenetic memory,' which allows recording important information to, for example, remember prolonged cold in the winter to ensure they flower at the right time during the spring.

The revolt of the plants: The arctic melts when plants stop breathing
A joint research team from POSTECH and the University of Zurich identifies a physiologic mechanism in vegetation as cause for Artic warming.

How plants forget
New work published in Nature Cell Biology from an international team led by Dr.

Ordering in? Plants are way ahead of you
Dissolved carbon in soil can quench plants' ability to communicate with soil microbes, allowing plants to fine-tune their relationships with symbionts.

When good plants go bad
Conventional wisdom suggests that only introduced species can be considered invasive and that indigenous plant life cannot be classified as such because they belong within their native range.

How plants handle stress
Plants get stressed too. Drought or too much salt disrupt their physiology.

Can plants tell us something about longevity?
The oldest living organism on Earth is a plant, Methuselah a bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) (pictured below) that is over 5,000 years old.

Read More: Plants News and Plants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.