FDA funds E coli detection research for WERC Design Contest

WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development has been awarded a grant from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for a project entitled “Improving the Safety of Fresh Fruits & Vegetables: A WERC Design Contest Approach.” The $106,002 will be used to support the 2008 Environmental Design Contest. For the FDA, the participating teams will be tasked to develop a simple and practical sampling strategy to detect Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 in spinach destined for bagged salad. The strategy must be cost effective and easily implemented by the grower or processor into an existing system.  The focus of this task is to develop a sampling strategy (as opposed to a microbiological method). WERC’s Environmental Design Contest is a unique event that brings together industry, government and academia in the search for improved environmental solutions. Held annually since 1991 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the contest draws hundreds of college students from throughout the United States and around the world. The student teams design solutions for real-world problems while developing fully operational bench-scale solutions that are presented to panels of judges comprised of environmental professionals. The teams prepare four different presentations: written, oral, poster and bench-scale model. The contest is scheduled to take place April 6-9, 2008.

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