New Mexico Chile Association Competitive Grants Program

Food Safety: Point-of-Production Chile Screening for Food-Borne Pathogens

Principal Investigator, Gary D. Rayson, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, New Mexico State University. Co-principal Investigator, Efren Delgado, Department of Family and Consumer Science, Food Science, New Mexico State University

Contact information:
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Box 30001 MSC 3C, Las Cruces, NM 88003, (575) 646-5839,

Project Summary:
An estimated 76 million people become ill and 5000 die from foodborne pathogens each year in the United States. This project involves development and characterization of novel techniques for in-field, real-time pathogen contamination screening in the field or chile processing facility of chile crops before market introduction. It shortens pathogen analysis time from one week to one hour and enables improved crop management decisions. The method includes rapid collection and analysis of three-dimensional emission spectral signatures for chile pod screening before food supply introduction. This minimizes or eliminates both health and economic currently realized food contamination consequences.