WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety

eNewsletter, February 2016




Northwest Irrigation Operators Biennial Conference

February 17, 2016
Boise, ID

Rob Atwill gave a set of lectures at this meeting, attended by irrigation districts from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Topics of discussion were practical strategies to implement FDA's agricultural water quality criteria that were finalized on November 27 and described in the FDA document, "Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption." This meeting was a good chance to explain how bacterial indicators function as markers of irrigation water quality, how to sample set of sampling program, and challenges and opportunities to implementing these regulations.








NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference on One Health

January 25-February 12, 2016
UC Davis

Twenty-seven students from Nanjing Agricultural University, majoring in diverse studies, attended the NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference on One Health, held in Davis, January 25 through February 12.  The conference was sponsored by Nanjing Agricultural University, (NAU), and hosted by the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, (WIFSS) for undergraduate students who have an interest in graduate programs at UC Davis, as part of the NAU-UC Davis One Health Center for Food Safety joint program.  During the first week of the conference the students were assigned to five teams, and throughout the conference the teams met periodically to discuss the concept of One Health, what they’d learned in lectures and during field trips, and to prepare for their team presentations describing a chosen food safety issue and solutions to the problem. Thirty-one faculty and staff from agriculture, biology, veterinary medicine and medicine participated in the conference, including John Angelos, Rob Atwill, David Goldenberg, Heather Johnson, Bennie Osburn, Missy Partyka, and Michael Payne from WIFSS, Michele Jay-Russell, from the Western Center for Food Safety (WCFS).

On the first day of the conference the students were welcomed by Rob Atwill, who gave an overview of the research taking place at WIFSS. During a field trip to the USDA Agricultural Research Services field station in Salinas he gave a presentation on the ecology of pathogens in the Salinas Valley. Also speaking at the field station was Missy Partyka, who talked about food safety environmental investigations.

John Angelos talked to the students about training for One Health in food safety, and David Goldenberg gave a presentation on St. Patrick’s Day Revenge, a table-top exercise for produce risk factors.  Michael Payne presented case scenarios involving environmental contamination of dairy cattle, and Michele Jay-Russell gave an overview of food safety risks from wildlife.  Heather Johnson spoke on the subject of on-line blended learning, and served as a team leader. 

Bennie Osburn lectured on the concept of One Health, and what happens during FDA foodborne outbreak investigations. In addition, Osburn served as director for the conference, and a team leader.  Rounding out the team leadership were James Cullor, from the School of Veterinary Medicine, and Chris Brunner, the program communications representative at WIFSS, and co-coordinator for the conference.

.NAU Group Photo

Rob Atwill, Director, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, stands (center) with conference participants, Chris Brunner and Bennie Osburn.









Melissa Partyka, Ronald Bond, Jennifer Chase, and Rob Atwill, in collaboration with Luana Kiger from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA, recently published, "Multistate evaluation of microbial water and sediment quality from agricultural recovery basins," in the Journal of Environmental Quality. This article discusses how bacterial pathogens can occur in the irrigation water and underlying sediment from these tail-water and sediment-capture basins in the Western and Eastern United States. These are important conservation practices for a variety of ecosystem and agricultural services. This work found that management practices such as dewatering of the basin and sufficient drying of sediments was associated with a reduction in bacterial levels which could thereby improve the microbiological safety of the water and associated sediments when used for produce production.