Evaluating practical approaches for on-farm water testing to meet the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Crop Soils and Environmental Sciences
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The Produce Safety Rule, a part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), requires produce farmers to monitor the quality of irrigation and wash water used on the farm for generic E. coli in an effort to prevent microbial contamination of fresh produce grown for human consumption. The objectives of this study were to (1) compare alternative methods against the EPA Standard Method in determining E. coli levels in surface waters of varying chemical characteristics and (2) determine the effects of transport time on E. coli concentrations determined by the EPA standard method. Results indicated Coliscan Easygel 5 mL had the highest correlation (r = 0.72, p = 0.01) to the EPA standard method, while Coliscan Membrane Filter had the second highest correlation (r = 0.70, p = 0.01). Results from the prolonged sample holding times indicated significant variation between sample holding times (p = 0.01).