WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety

eNewsletter, June 2017




Safe Food California

June 7, 2017
Monterey, CA

Linda Harris gave a presentation entitled “What’s new in tree nut risk assessments?” at the Safe Food California 2017 conference, which was organized by Safe Food Alliance, a technical service organization that serves the needs of the food industry with emphasis on California’s specialty crops. The conference was designed to provide education and training for growers, processors, and distributors. The schedule of speakers for the conference is available here.




Idaho Water User’s Association Summer Water Law and Resource Issues Seminar

June 12, 2017
Sun Valley, ID

Melissa Partyka

Melissa Partyka  was invited to present at the annual IUWA Summer Seminar Series in Sun Valley, Idaho. Her 40-minute talk entitled “The Food Safety Modernization Act and Irrigation Water Delivery: Opportunities for Collaboration”, focused on not only how growers covered under the Produce Safety Rule can begin to prepare themselves for compliance ahead of future FDA announcements, but the roles irrigation districts can play in facilitating compliance. The audience was made up of over 100 irrigators, lawyers, engineers, growers, and resource agencies interested in current water quality regulations and their potential impact on resource management. 






Sweden Agriculture Security Project

June 12-14, 2017
Uppsala, Sweden

Swedish Meeting

Bennie Osburn and David Goldenberg were invited to speak at a seminar held at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The goal of the two-day seminar was to support and inspire the development of agricultural security programs in Sweden. Course participants included representatives from the Swedish Defense University, Swedish Armed Forces, Swedish Board of Agriculture, National Food Agency, the Federation of Swedish Farmers, Civil Contingencies Agency, Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and the National Veterinary Institute.

Osburn lectured on “Expanding the Role of Veterinary Medicine in Society,” to address the opportunities this expanding role in veterinary medicine contributes to local, national and global society.  He discussed the historical development of WIFSS and its research, education, outreach, and training programs. WIFSS sponsored conferences incorporate the One Health concept of addressing food systems from the overlapping nexus of the environment including plants, animals and people.  Taking a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex problems is a model the Swedish agencies can use to address catastrophic disasters, including agroterrorism, natural disasters, and foodborne disease outbreaks.

SVADavid Goldenberg conducted a one-day awareness level course on Preparedness for Agroterrorism and Food System Disasters. The course prepares members of emergency response teams to evaluate the overall risk of an intentional attack on a segment of agriculture or a segment of the food

system and to provide information about methods to limit vulnerabilities in identified targets. Topics included identifying targets, developing prevention, protection and mitigation strategies, building multidisciplinary response teams, and identifying the roles of the government agencies throughout an incident.

The Swedish agencies and SLU are interested in exploring the next step in developing collaborative agri-security programs with WIFSS. 





Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium

June 20-21, 2017
Denver, CO

Linda Harris attended the CPS Research Symposium, where she gave a short presentation and corresponding poster on her CPS-funded project entitled "Characterization and Mitigation of Bacteriological Risks Associated with Packing Fresh-Market Citrus".  She also was co-PI on two other projects that were presented at the Research Symposium: “Microbial food safety risks of reusing tail water for leafy greens production”, presented by Michael Cahn, University of California Cooperative Extension; and Improving pasteurization validation methods for pistachio processing, presented by Bradley Marks, Michigan State University.




19th Annual Almond Quality & Food Safety Symposium

June 22, 2017
Lodi, CA

David Goldenberg

Linda Harris and David Goldenberg were among the six presenters at this year’s Almond Board of California Food Quality and Safety Symposium, which focused on FSMA.  Linda’s presentations were entitled “The 2017 FDA almond risk assessment – what did they find and what does it mean for the California Almond industry?” and “What can the almond industry learn from the recent outbreaks of E. coli in nut flours and butters?”  The food safety symposium was attended by almond processors, handlers and growers from throughout California.

David presented a lecture entitled, “FSMA and intentional adulteration/food defense – Is your operation ready?” During his 30 minute presentation David talked about vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector and recommendations on developing a food defense plan as will be required by FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act. WIFSS has a series of six agroterrorism courses that are sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.  More information about those courses can be obtained here.






2017 Western Food Safety Summit
Vet Med Cooperative Extension

June 21-22, 2017
Tulare, CA

2017 Western Food Safety Summit

Heather Johnson and Emily Kunz from the WIFSS Outreach Team were hard at work during their visit to the Central Valley, filming at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center and several commercial dairy farms in the area. They are collaborating with UC Davis' Veterinary Medicine Cooperative Extension to create an informational video about the work Cooperative Extension does to benefit farmers and ranchers in California and beyond.  







Worley, J.N. K.A. Flores, X. Yang, J.A. Chase, G. Caoa, S. Tangc, J. Meng, E.R. Atwill.  2017. Genomic characterization of E. coli O157:H7 strains circulating in California’s cow-calf herds. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83:e00734-17. doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00734-17.

Rob Atwill and Jennifer Chase, in collaboration with Jay N. Worley, Guojie Cao, Jianghong Meng of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) at the University of Maryland in College Park, Kris Flores of the School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis, with assistance from Shuai Tang and Xun Yang at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, characterized the risk factors for bovine infection and the associated whole genomes of E. coli O157:H7 circulating in beef cattle herds from throughout California. Herd infections were characterized by virulent strains of E. coli O157:H7 that were highly clonal within herd, with season, drinking water source, stocking density and length of calving season all associated with bovine infection. This project is a good example of how two FDA Centers of Excellence, JIFSAN and the Western Center for Food Safety, can combine their complementary skills to conduct important research at the interface between animal agriculture, pathogen genomics, epidemiology and produce food safety.

Chen, S, E.R. Atwill, F. Zhong, Y. Wei, S. Hou, J. Li, C. Xu, C. Xiao, Z. Yang, X. Li. 2017. Prevalence and risk factors of Cryptosporidium infection in children with clinical diarrhea in Guangzhou, China. Journal of Bacteriology and Parasitology 8(2):308 doi:10.4172/2155-9597.1000308.

Xunde Li and Rob Atwill collaborated with the scientists of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Guangzhou City, China (Shouyi  Chen, Fei Zhong, Yuehong Wei, Shuiping Hou, Juntao Li, Conghui Xu, and Zhicong Yang) to determine the prevalence, species and risk factors of Cryptosporidium infection in children hospitalized for diarrhea in greater Guangzhou region of China. The prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection was similar in male (7.4%) and female (6.1%) children, but negatively associated with age (infection was more likely in younger children). Infections in children were significantly higher in families with a recent history of diarrhea, indicating that an older individual introduced the protozoal parasite into the susceptible household.  The prevalence of Cryptosporidium was higher in the rainy compared to dry season, a finding observed in other regions of the world. Interestingly, DNA sequences of Cryptosporidium from the 18S rRNA gene from the infected children were >99% identical to sequences of C. parvum from humans and animals. No C. hominis isolates were found in this cohort of infected children from the highly urbanized Guangzhou region, which is in contrast to several other studies of urban regions where human-specific C. hominis is a common species of Cryptosporidium circulating in human populations.