UMES helping with study on food safety at farmers markets
MARYLAND – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is helping carry out a study on food safety when it comes to farmers market products. “The number of farmers markets on Delmarva and across the country has increased in the past 20 years. People love farmers market food, however there is very limited information about the microbiological safety and quality of farmers market products,” said agriculture, food, and resource sciences professor Dr. Salina Parveen.
The university is teaming up with the USDA, Virginia State University, and Delaware State University to conduct the study over the course of three years. Students and instructors will collect samples from farmers markets to test them for indicators of bacteria and food borne pathogens. “Our plan is to collect farmers market products like meat, eggs, produce from multiple farmers markets in the Delmarva region and analyze the samples,” said Dr. Parveen.
Dr. Parveen says this study is innovative because there isn’t a lot of information available about farmers market products and how safe they are to eat. “This is a very innovative study as there is no information about the microbiology, the safety, and the quality of farmers market products, and especially on the Delmarva region. I believe it will provide very good information,” said Dr. Parveen.
The study is also tracing food products from farm to market to see what kind of process food goes through before it reaches the table. Dr. Parveen tells 47ABC that the team will begin collecting samples in the fall. “There is very limited information about the microbiological safety of the products at farmers markets. However, cases of food borne illnesses due to consumption of farmers market products have been reported,” said Dr. Parveen.
Once the results are collected, the team will develop training for farmers and market vendors about safe production and product handling.