WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety

eNewsletter, June 2016




Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium

June 28-29, 2016
Seattle, WA

CPSLinda HarrisMichele Jay-Russell, and WCFS postdoctoral scholar Nora Navarro-Gonzalez attended the annual CPS Research Symposium. Linda and Michele gave Lightening Round and Poster Brief presentations on their CPS-funded projects. Linda gave a presentation on Assessing postharvest food safety risks and identifying mitigation strategies for foodborne pathogens in pistachio and was co-author on Michael Cahn’s presentation on Microbial food safety risks of reusing tail water for leafy green production

Nora at CPSMichele gave two presentations: Evaluation of falconry as an economically viable co-management strategy to deter nuisance birds in leafy green fields. Proof of concept (co-PI Trevor Suslow) and Does Salmonella move through the irrigation systems of mixed produce farms of the southeastern United States? (PI George Vellidis). She was also  Co-PI on Trevor Suslow’s project entitled Rapid tests to specifically differentiate clinically significant from environmental STEC towards reducing unnecessary crop destruction. In the final session of Day 2, Michele served as a panelist with Samir Assar (FDA) and Robert Sakata (Sakata Farms) addressing  Animal Intrusion and On-Farm Pathogen Detection















Agricultural Water Quality Workshops

May 16-19, 2016
Yakima, Wenatchee and Selah, WA

Ag Water Quality WkshopWCFS staff Melissa Partyka, Ronald Bond and Jennifer Chase conducted three agricultural water quality workshops in the Yakima and Wenatchee Valleys of Central Washington State. Workshops were co-hosted by Washington State Tree Fruit Association with specialty crop block-grant funds along with the help of Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and Northwest Horticultural Council. The workshops were attended by 50+ total participants in the Yakima region and 30+ in the Wenatchee region. The workshops focused on disseminating the agricultural water requirements under FSMA and to demonstrate on farm situational aseptic water sampling techniques. The participants were from the major packinghouses, grower marketing groups, on-farm food safety supervisors, irrigation districts, and analytical labs and greater than 90 percent wanted the workshops repeated according to pre and post surveys.  












Preventive Controls Qualified Individual Training

June 1-3, 2016
Modesto, CA

The Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) course, which is the standardized curriculum recognized by FDA to meet the requirements for a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual, was presented for the Almond Board of California. Linda Harris joined trainers Richard Stier, Tim Birmingham, and Guangwei Huang. The following week Linda also participated in an Almond Board Grower Focus Group to discuss the impact of the Produce Safety rule on California Almond Growers.









Meeting with delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture of China

June 2, 2016
Davis, CA

Rob Atwill and Xunde Li met a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture of China and talked about WIFSS’ research, outreach, training, and international programs on food safety and security. The International Programs Office of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences hosted the delegation, which was coordinated by the USDA international office.









Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course

June 13-24, 2016
Davis, CA

Linda Harris gave a presentation on Food Safety: General Principles on the second day of the 38th Annual Postharvest Technology Short Course. This two-week intensive study of the biology and current technologies used for handling fruits, nuts, vegetables and ornamentals in California is designed for research and extension workers, quality control personnel and other professionals interested in current advances in postharvest technology of horticultural crops. The first week consists of lectures and labs held on campus; the second week is a field tour of operations in the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley, Monterey Coast and San Francisco Bay Area. The agenda for the first week is available here.









Almond Quality & Food Safety Symposium

June 16, 2016
Modesto, CA

Linda Harris gave a presentation entitled Hazard analysis for almonds – resources to help you conduct the “Almond Hazard Analysis” at the 18th Annual Almond Quality and Food Safety Symposium in Modesto, CA.









On Farm Food Safety Workshop Series

June 20, 2016
Petaluma, CA

Michele Jay-Russell and Alda Pires, Extension Specialist in Urban Agriculture and Food Safety (School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis) presented the third workshop in this four-part series, intended to help North Bay farmers learn the basics of food safety science, begin to implement record keeping and risk reduction practices on their operations, and gain information designed specifically for the area’s small-scale and diversified fruit and vegetable farms.  Michele and Alda focused on food safety related to soil, livestock, and wildlife.

The workshop series is supported, in part, by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis and a Specialty Crop Block Grant with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.











Comstock Magazine

An article entitled Watching What You Eat in Comstock’s Magazine recently highlighted UC Davis researchers Michele Jay-Russell and her team collecting data on the survival of E. coli in animal manures, which will provide better scientific data for the required time period between application of manure and harvest of food crops. The work of Ronald Bond and Melissa Partyka in examining microbial survival in irrigation water runoff and sediment basins also is mentioned. The article, written by Sena Christian, included a discussion of the recent outbreaks involving Chipotle restaurants.



Michele Jay-Russell and Michael Doyle’s new edited book, Food Safety Risks from Wildlife: Challenges in Agriculture, Conservation, and Public Health, received a highly favorable review by  Daniel E. Lafontaine, DVM, MPH, DACVPM (HACCP Consulting Group LLC) in the June 15, 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assocation (JAVMA).

Quote from the review:

“The authors of this book have certainly attained their goal of advancing the understanding of wildlife’s potential impact on food safety and public health. Every wildlife and food safety veterinarian should have this book in their library.”

More information about the book can be found here.










Penny, C., B. Grothendick, L. Zhang, C. M. Borror, D. Barbano, A. J. Cornelius, B. J. Gilpin, C. K. Fagerquist, W. J. Zaragoza, M. T. Jay-Russell, A. J. Lastovica, C. Ragimbeau, H.-M. Cauchie and T. R. Sandrin.  2016.  A designed experiments approach to optimizing MALDI-TOF MS spectrum processing parameters enhances detection of antibiotic resistance in Campylobacter jejuni. Front. Microbiol., 31 May 2016.00818

MALDI-TOF MS has been utilized as a reliable and rapid tool for microbial fingerprinting at the genus and species levels. Recently, there has been keen interest in using MALDI-TOF MS beyond the genus and species levels to rapidly identify antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. The purpose of this study was to enhance strain level resolution for Campylobacter jejuni through the optimization of spectrum processing parameters using a series of designed experiments. A collection of 172 strains of C. jejuni were collected from Luxembourg, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa, consisting of four groups of antibiotic resistant isolates. Applying optimal preprocessing parameters, beta-lactam resistance detection was increased by 34%. These results suggest that spectrum processing parameters, which are rarely optimized or adjusted, affect the performance of MALDI-TOF MS-based detection of antibiotic resistance and can be fine-tuned to enhance screening performance.


New versions of the following programs are available on the WCFS website:

Mashiana, R. and L. J. Harris. 2016. Determining your microbiological water quality profile (MWQP) for untreated ground water used in the production of fresh produce, Version 3.0. (Excel spreadsheet–based tool.) Available at here.

Mashiana, R. and L. J. Harris. 2016. Determining your microbiological water quality profile (MWQP) for untreated surface water used in the production of fresh produce, Version 4.0. (Excel spreadsheet–based tool.) Available here.













UPDATED: The FDA has decided to add an additional 14 days to comment on the following request for scientific data, information, and comments that appeared in the Federal Register on March 4, 2016: 

The new deadline for comments is July 19, 2016

To submit comments electronically to the docket, visit www.regulations.gov and enter FDA-2014-N-1497 in the search box.