WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety

eNewsletter, August 2013

Meetings and Conference

Co-Management Forum: Farm Food Safety & Conservation Network

August 21, 2013
Watsonville, CA

At the Annual Co-Management Forum, organized by the Farm Food Safety & Conservation Network, Rob Atwill discussed the challenges of managing the risks of foodborne pathogens from wildlife in fields of produce while simultaneously protecting water quality and conservation.  Tim Hartz and Brian Anderson from UC Davis, along with other speakers discussed how best to implement the goals of co-management for a variety of contaminants such as pesticides, nutrients, and pathogens using good agricultural practices such as irrigation efficiency, vegetative treatment systems, and tailwater or sediment basins.







California Tree Nut Tours

August 14-16, 2013

The almond, pistachio, and walnut industries welcomed scientists from the Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.  Jenny Scott and Mickey Parish, senior advisors in the Office of Food Safety, and Michael Mahovic and Scarlett Salem, members of the Produce Safety Team, were joined by Linda Harris and UC Davis Postdoctoral Scholar Gordon Davidson. Growers were on hand to discuss production and harvest practices for the three nut types, and processors discussed or demonstrated (in the case of almonds) postharvest handling equipment at huller/shellers or huller/dehydrators and handlers or nut processors of various sizes.  Linda Harris facilitated an “all nut” question and answer session at the end of the tour that covered various aspects of the proposed Preventative Controls and Produce Safety rules.






Produce Farm Investigations Course

July 15-19, 2013
Grand Rapids, MI

August 19-23, 2013
Visalia, CA

Leadership at the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security are pleased to mark the end of the summer months with the completion of the 2013 Produce Farm Investigations Courses.  The final two courses of the year were held across the country from one another, one in Grand Rapids, MI, and the other in Visalia, CA.  Fifty-four FDA and contracted state employees from more than 20 states attended both courses.  David Goldenberg coordinated the field activities which included visits to blueberry, vegetable and sprout farms in Michigan, and tree nut orchards, an almond huller/sheller, a pistachio processor and a cantaloupe field in California.  In Michigan, course participants had the opportunity to visit Pearson Foods Corporation in Grand Rapids, MI, where they saw first-hand the production process of sprouts and cut vegetables.  In California, they visited a University of California field station in Lindcove, where they honed their sampling skills in water, soil, equipment surfaces, and produce to prepare for future investigation assignments.

David Goldenberg, Heather Johnson, Ronny Bond, Bennie Osburn and Missy Partyka were integral in planning the programs. David, Heather and Missy delivered presentations in Michigan.  During the course in Visalia, presentations were delivered by FDA staff as well as Rob Atwill, Ronny Bond, Linda Harris, David Goldenberg, Maurice Pitesky and Missy Partyka. University of Florida collaborator Michelle Danyluk also participated.







Food Safety News Interview

August 9, 2013
Charlotte, NC

Michele Jay-Russell was interviewed by James Andrews for Food Safety News following her presentation entitled “Who Has Been Eating Your Salad before It Got to Your Plate? Wildlife Intrusion in Vegetable Production,” part of a symposium on the role of wildlife in the safety of the food supply.  Jay-Russell pointed out that outbreaks from wildlife contamination are rare events, but contamination of crops from animal feces or contaminated irrigation water can have serious consequences for consumers.  She talked about the efforts of farmers who work with her to employ environmentally conscious control measures to prevent contamination, such as temporary fencing or tactics for scaring animals away.  The interview is available here.


Food Safety News

FSN Interview Jay-Russell



Kilonzo C., X. Li, E.J. Vivas, M.T. Jay-Russell, K.L. Fernandez and E.R. Atwill.  2013.  Fecal shedding of zoonotic food-borne pathogens by wild rodents in a major agricultural region of the Central California Coast.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]  This work describes the occurrence of fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and the protozoal parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, in rodents species that forage and/or nest in fields of produce.  Risk factors were also identified for animal infection, ranging from trap success (%), proximity to feedlots, to rodent biodiversity.  The complete abstract may be found here