Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Farm to market: New device makes cleaning leafy greens easy, economical

Date:
July 16, 2012
Source:
University of Houston
Summary:
A simple and inexpensive device to wash leafy produce may provide a convenient way for small farmers to clean produce before market.

A simple and inexpensive device to wash leafy produce, created by students at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM), may provide a convenient way for small farmers to clean produce before market.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Houston

A simple and inexpensive device to wash leafy produce, created by students at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM), may provide a convenient way for small farmers to clean produce before market.

Related Articles


"Leafy greens have the highest incidence of contamination nationwide," said graduate student Cecilia Zerio Egli. "There is not a lot of research available for smaller farms to access methods for efficiently and economically washing produce before it goes to markets."

Zerio Egli is studying in the HRM Food Safety Laboratory, directed by Professor Jay Neal. The laboratory performs microbiological and sensory research, while collaborating and publishing with other universities and government agencies. In addition, the lab has a full production kitchen, as well as a sensory evaluation laboratory. In August 2012, the lab will achieve a Bio-Safety Level 2 upgrade, which will enable researchers to work with pathogenic or disease causing microorganisms.

Supported by a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture, Zerio Egli and Neal surveyed more than 80 local and regional farmers about their harvesting and washing practices, asking if they would use a washing device if it were available. "Small famers" were defined as earning less than $500,000 annually. These farms are exempt from the Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act, which focuses on preventing food contamination rather than responding to outbreaks.

Unlike large commercial farms that can ship produce to packing facilities that wash the vegetables, smaller farmers must do everything themselves, from harvesting and packaging to transporting to market. Not all produce is washed before heading to market.

"Packing sheds have flumes which are water-wash systems with a chlorinated treatment," Neal said. "When you buy packaged lettuce that says 'washed three times' that's how it was done. Small famers don't have that."

Zerio Egli's device is made from PVC pipe, a stainless steel strainer and a five-gallon drum. Leafy vegetables placed inside the stainless steel container are spun as they're showered briefly with water to remove dirt. With the flick of a lever, the container lowers into the plastic drum where it is spun in a vinegar and water solution, proven to best clean produce of any harmful bacteria. Finally, the container is lifted to its original position where the produce is rinsed with water again.

"I'll be making an information sheet which will have the plans for how small farmers can easily build the device themselves and where they can purchase the inexpensive materials," she said. "And farmers can manipulate the size to fit their individual needs." The information sheet also will have resources for farmers about best practices when growing, harvesting and washing produce.

Zerio Egli and Neal plan to make the plans available in the fall to farmers and farmers' markets.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Houston. "Farm to market: New device makes cleaning leafy greens easy, economical." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716100800.htm>.
University of Houston. (2012, July 16). Farm to market: New device makes cleaning leafy greens easy, economical. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716100800.htm
University of Houston. "Farm to market: New device makes cleaning leafy greens easy, economical." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120716100800.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pygmy Marmoset Getting a Toothbrush Massage Is the Cutest

Pygmy Marmoset Getting a Toothbrush Massage Is the Cutest

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) This rescued pygmy marmoset named Ninita is obsessed with her toothbrush. It's cuteness overload, and Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the amazing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Are Chocolate Makers So Worried?

Why Are Chocolate Makers So Worried?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 19, 2014) Two big chocolate producers are warning the popular treat could run out by 2020 because people are eating it faster than farmers can grow cocoa. Ciara Lee reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Hamster Eating Thanksgiving Meal Breaks the Internet

Tiny Hamster Eating Thanksgiving Meal Breaks the Internet

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A tiny hamster and a bunny and rat enjoy a tiny Thanksgiving meal where they stuff themselves to the brim. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the cute video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Panda at Toronto Zoo Loves Somersaulting in the Snow

Giant Panda at Toronto Zoo Loves Somersaulting in the Snow

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A giant panda at the Toronto Zoo named Da Mao is celebrating the northeast snowfall by playing and tumbling in the snow in his outdoor enclosure. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins