of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Reducing spoilage and contamination risks of fresh vegetables in China and Australia

Overview of Project

Population growth in China and the expansion of urbanisation have increased pressures on vegetable growers to meet demand. Peri-urban vegetable production has been promoted as a means of increasing the availability and diversity of fresh vegetables in the growing urban centres. Spoilage of vegetables remains a problem, being caused by a range of factors. Peri-urban vegetable production systems are land and pesticide intensive. Competition for land and other inputs is at a premium, resulting in pressures on production, handling and marketing systems. High postharvest losses caused by fungal and bacterial pathogens are common. Inadequate washing, grading and packing facilities contribute to this, as does limited options for disposing of wash-water and waste. Limited fresh water and water and sewage pollution from inadequate infrastructure result in poor quality irrigation inputs, sometimes utilising raw sewage. These also contribute further to pollution as they enter water courses as run-off. Vegetables are also often washed in these same water sources prior to sale.

Advances in the detection and monitoring of risk factors have been developed for vegetables, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technologies. These are applicable to monitoring of both vegetables and wash-water. Such technologies can also be used throughout the supply chain to detect human pathogen transmission risk factors. Much is known about the range of risk factors, how to prevent these spreading and how to improve systems management, inputs and monitoring. Some of this has been developed for Australian systems but is also applicable to China.

Project Dates

01 Jul 2004 - 30 Jun 2009


Food Science Australia - Australia
Institute of Vegetables and Flowers - China
China Agricultural University - China
China National Green Food Industry Company - China


Dr Robert Holmes



03 92109222

Launch Website