The Center for Produce Safety is offering $500,000 in the center’s first Innovation Challenge aimed at meeting food safety needs of the fresh produce industry.

"This is an invitation and opportunity for technology innovators to develop, refine and focus their solutions to meet a critical industry need — identifying evidence or conditions where cross contamination can take place in our growing environments,” says Dave Corsi, chair of the CPS Board of Directors stated.

The program, currently termed GRABIT (Grower's Risk Assessment Biomarkers Investigative Tool) is designed to bring tools to the supply chain to manage risk and meet the CPS mission: Fund the science, find solutions and fuel the change.

The GRABIT challenge was designed to stimulate the development of science-based approaches to support the broader critical knowledge needs in produce safety risk identification, risk intervention, and high-density data development associated with the domesticated animal-specialty crop interface.

It’s not a tool to look for pathogens, according to CPS, but a tool to look for the evidence of chronic or acute transfer factors from a domesticated animal point source. CPS anticipates that the outcomes of this competitive award-based innovation and development challenge will include a diverse set of grower-oriented and, ideally, on-farm deployed tools -- from solid proof-of-concept to pre-commercial beta-test ready kits. The GRABIT challenge is the first of a multipart effort CPS has undertaken to address the priority research needs of the fresh produce supply chain.