Reducing foodborne pathogen contamination of vegetables in Cambodia: Innovative research, targeted interventions, and impactful, Cambodian-led engagement
In recent years, Cambodia’s commitment to reducing malnutrition has led to increased investments in the promotion of high value, nutritionally rich foods—particularly vegetables. However, raw vegetables can be a high-risk food in terms of food safety. Measurably reducing the incidence of foodborne pathogen contamination on vegetables can safeguard the nutritional gains of a healthy diet for Cambodian children, households, and communities.
This project, led by Jessie Vipham of Kansas State University and Paul Ebner of Purdue University, is targeting food safety gaps in the production, distribution, and sale of vegetables in Cambodia. Together with colleagues at the Royal University of Agriculture and other strategic partners, they are identifying the bacterial pathogens that pose the greatest food safety risk and investigating critical control points within the food value chain to identify contributors to pathogen contamination, transmission, and persistence.
This project is also creating targeted interventions, developed within the context of local food safety practices, perceptions, and barriers, to facilitate new standalone and integrated educational programs. Regular assessments will ensure the project both reduces the incidence of vegetable contamination and creates tools that are scalable and applicable to other foods and commodities in Cambodia.