The UC Davis post-harvest centre was founded over 40 years ago by Adel Kader. The aim of this centre is to coordinate and gather knowledge to reduce postharvest losses and improve the product quality. From there till now, the postharvest centre remains as one of the top sources of postharvest knowledge offering three courses: Fruit ripening, Postharvest short-course and the Fresh cut workshop.
This June 2019 is celebrating the 41st edition of the Postharvest Short-course. This course is aimed at professionals working in the fruit and vegetables industry, looking to learn about postharvest biology and the current technologies used in the industry.
This year the course was coordinated and hosted by Beth Mitcham with the collaboration of the directors of the Postharvest Center Florence Zakharov and Angelos Deltsidis. Many other experts in postharvest such as the Emeritus professor Marita Cantwell, Mary Lu Arpaia and Irwin Donis-Gonzalez among others have participated in this course.
The course consists of morning lectures and debates, and afternoons of laboratory sessions. The morning lectures cover all the postharvest aspects such as cooling, packaging, modified/controlled atmosphere etc. and a whole series of talks focused on specific products.
The first and last laboratory sessions consist of a small experiment where the participants work with different products and store them during the week in different temperatures and packaging, and the last day variable changes are discussed.
Other demonstrations consist of quality and sensory evaluations, learning of how to use instruments for monitoring temperature, relative humidity (RH), air velocity, ethylene, disease display and control and water sanitation.
My experience as a postgraduate researcher working in collaboration with industry has been very positive. The amount of knowledge available in this course, from the university instructors and industry professionals, is limitless. This course provided me with an outlook of the postharvest science and industry. Also, I have learnt to identify postharvest issues and find solutions that will help me to reduce postharvest waste and improve product quality.
So, whether you are a professional looking to learn or update your knowledge or a company looking to help develop your postharvest employees I would totally recommend this course as well as the workshops.
If you want to go further and become a postharvest expert, the centre offers a Produce Professional Certificate with online modules to complement the courses.
Post Harvest Center recommended resources
Comprehensive Postharvest Handling Resources
- http://www.ba.ars.usda.gov/hb66/contents.html– New Edition of USDA Agricultural Handbook 66
Global Postharvest Handling
- Postharvest information site of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Repository of global postharvest research & development
- World Vegetable Center Postharvest Information
- Postharvest Education Foundation (training in postharvest technology)
- International Directory of Postharvest Suppliers – Directory One| Directory Two
- African Postharvest Losses Information System
- FAO-WHO Food Standards
- S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service information on quality standards, transportation, and marketing
- European Standards for Fruit and Vegetables
- Brochures of the OECD International Fruit and Vegetable Standards
Pesticides, Additives, Organics, and Quarantine Requirements
- Labels and material safety datasheets for pesticides
- International Maximum Residue Limit Database (Pesticide residue information)
- HomologaTMGlobal Crop protection Products Database about plant protection products and their Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs)
- FAO-WHO Combined Compendium of Food Additive Specifications
- National organic program standards
- S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service information on phytosanitary and quarantine requirements
- Methyl bromide phase out information
- Methyl bromide alternatives outreach information
- Manufacturer approved and indemnified crop protection label database
- Gateway to U.S. government information on human nutrition and nutritive value of foods
- USDA interactive website about application of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to individual consumers
- Composition of foods
- Produce for Better Health Foundation’s promotion of produce consumption
- S. government (CDC, DHHS, NCI) site for promotion of produce consumption
Food Safety, Traceability, and Defense
- Partnership for Food Safety Education
- Gateway to U.S. government information on food safety
- S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guidance Documents on Food Safety
- USDA’s food safety resources for small-scale producers
- University of California’s food safety information
- University of California’s Good Agricultural Practices
- Center for Produce Safety, University of California at Davis
- Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS)
- Food defense and emergency response guidance documents
- GLOBALGAP is a private sector body that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe
- Current information about the produce traceability initiative
- US Food Drug Administration (FDA) Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables