WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety

eNewsletter, August 2016




International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting

July 31 - August 3, 2016
St Louis, MO

Linda Harris and Alejandro Mazzotta

Linda Harris, Michele Jay-Russell, postdocs Nora Navarro Gonzalez, Mahta Moussavi, Javad Barouei, and graduate student Laura Patterson attended the IAFP annual meeting and presented several posters (below). The meeting was attended by more than 3300 food safety professionals from six continents. Linda became President of the association at the conclusion of the meeting.

Posters presented:

Casulli, K., F. Garces, K. Dolan, L. J. Harris, and B. Marks. Modeling the effect of product temperature, moisture, and process humidity on thermal inactivation of Salmonella in pistachios, (Abstract P2-19). International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting 2016, St. Louis, MO, July 31- Aug 3. 

Lee D, Tertuliano M, Vellidis G, Antaki E, Harris C, Jay-Russell M, Levy K. Salmonella transport through irrigation systems and the risk of fresh produce contamination on farms in southern Georgia (Abstract P1-18). International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting 2016, St. Louis, MO, Jul 31-Aug 3.

Moussavi, M., V. Lieberman, C. Theofel, and L.J. Harris. Growth of foodborne pathogens on inoculated pistachios during postharvest handling, (Abstract P2-113). International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting 2016, St. Louis, MO, July 31- Aug 3.

Mahta Moussavi and her poster

Navarro-Gonzalez N, Patterson L, Wang F, Aminabadi P, Pires A, Micallef SA, Buchanan R, Jay-Russell M. Diversified farms in California: can one tomato spoil the barrel? (Abstract P2-85). International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting 2016, St. Louis, MO, Jul 31-Aug 3.

Michele and Nora poster

Patterson L, Navarro-Bonzalez N, Aminabadi P, Jay-Russell M, Pires, A. Prevalence of foodborne pathogens in livestock raised on small-scale farms in California (Abstract P2-124). International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting 2016, St. Louis, MO, Jul 31-Aug 3.

Laura Patterson and her poster

Spanninger P, Navarro-Gonzalez N, Kniel K, Jay-Russell M. Effects of distance on risk associated with wildlife encroachment in field-grown leafy greens (Abstract P-06). International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting 2016, St. Louis, MO, Jul 31 - Aug 3.












National Water Resources Association Western Water Seminar

August 5, 2016
Sun Valley, ID

NWRAWCFS staff member Melissa Partyka gave an invited talk during the Irrigation Caucus session at this year’s National Water Resources Association Western Water Seminar, an annual conference that hosts water managers from 19 different states. The purpose of the session was to discuss the current status of FSMA and the possible role of irrigation districts in agricultural water quality compliance. Her talk, entitled “Collaborating for FSMA Compliance: We’re all in this together!” discussed years of research conducted by the Atwill Lab within western irrigation districts, emphasizing the value of collaboration and the part irrigation districts play in making projects a success. She also had an opportunity to discuss current research on cooperative water sampling for growers on a shared resource, a topic that generated a great deal of conversation. Kate Woods, Vice-President Northwest Horticulture Council, gave a companion talk “Food Safety Modernization Act: What it Means for Irrigation Districts and their Growers”, which focused on the current state of the policy and what questions irrigation districts may begin to hear from their customers.












American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Annual Convention

August 5-9, 2016
San Antonio, TX

Michele receiving awardMichele Jay-Russell attended the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) where she received an Honorary Diploma from the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society. Dr. Craig Carter, President of AVES, presented the award to Dr. Jay-Russell for her significant contributions to veterinary epidemiology, public health and One Health. Another highlight of the meeting for Michele was moderating the James H. Steele One Health session. Opening remarks were given by Marguerite Pappaioanou, former WIFSS board member. Among the presenters were Jerry and Nancy Jaax, veterinarians who were part of a team that led the response to the Ebola outbreak at a primate facility in Reston, VA. The story was featured in Richard Preston’s best-selling book The Hot Zone.














California Food Emergency Response Team (CalFERT) Commodity Specific Training

August 24-25, 2016
Sacramento, CA

Michele Jay-Russell was one of the instructors for training on Soil Systems and Management with Soil Amendments of Biological Origin, provided for CalFERT and staff from the Food and Drug Branch of California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Trevor Suslow was course organizer and lead instructor.  Michele gave research updates from WCFS and USDA-ARS on “Impact of Application Intervals for the Use of Raw Animal Manure as a Soil Amendment”. She also spoke on “Potential for Transfer from Manure and Fecal Matter to Crops”, in which she gave an update from WCFS transfer studies during irrigation events and other studies of bioaerosol risk.














Meet with Washington State Tree-Fruit Growers and Irrigation Districts

August 1-3, 2016
Yakima Valley, WA

Melissa Partyka traveled to Central Washington State to meet with irrigation districts and tree-fruit growers in order to establish working relationships for current research on cooperative sampling for FSMA agricultural water quality compliance. This research will help the produce industry develop water quality programs that not only decrease the sampling burden on individual growers, but establish open lines of communications between growers, their neighbors, and the irrigation districts that serve them. The establishment of confidential relationships and trust between WCFS staff members and members of the produce industry has become the cornerstone of many successful research projects.














New series of “Do you know” videos on the way

August 15-17, 2016
Central Valley, CA

Sara Garcia and cameraWIFSS training team members Emily Kunz and Heather Johnson were on site at a Central Valley dairy with Sara Garcia, a UC Davis graduate student, and Marianna Gentilini from DeLaval, to film a new set of DeLaval training videos which will aid viewers in identifying milk fever and calf scours, and understanding the proper maintenance of dairy equipment. The videos, produced by WIFSS in partnership with DeLaval, demonstrate practices that dairy workers can easily implement into their routines to help safeguard milk quality and biosecurity. Read full story here.













Ronnie Bond sampling


July 13, 2016

An article entitled “Simple steps for water sampling” was recently published in the July issue of Good Fruit Grower Magazine featuring three WCFS staff researchers, Melissa Partyka, Ronald Bond and Jennifer Chase. This centerpiece article, intended to demystify sampling for regulatory compliance, was based on interviews held during the agricultural water quality workshops conducted by these three in Washington State, May of 2016. The main article is accompanied by two additional guides; one titled “The math of food safety” explaining the math required for agricultural water testing and “Water sampling 101” a simple list of do’s and don’ts for water sampling.  The article was written by Shannon Dininny and is accompanied by photos from TJ Mullinax. Web and print versions are available.

July 11, 2016

Water Sampling Done Simply

Ronald Bond, Melissa Partyka of WCFS and Ines Hanrahan of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission participated in publishing an article through the Washington State University Tree Fruit website, on easy to follow recommendations for microbial water quality sampling under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule for Agricultural Water testing. Updates will be added to follow recommendations by FDA with regards to water testing criteria as soon as they are released.














Harris, L. J., V. Lieberman, R. P. Mashiana, E. Atwill, M. Yang, J. C. Chandler, B. Bisha, and T. Jones. 2016. Prevalence and amounts of Salmonella found on raw California inshell pistachios. J. Food Prot. 79(8): 1304-1315.

After harvest, pistachios are hulled with mechanical abrasion and then separated in a float tank containing water; the nuts that float (∼15%; floaters) and those that sink (∼85%; sinkers) are dried and stored separately. To determine the prevalence of Salmonella in pistachios, a total of 3,966 samples (1,032 floaters and 2,934 sinkers) were collected within 4 months of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 harvests from storage silos (12 samples from each silo, in most cases) and were stored at 4°C; 100-g subsamples were enriched for the presence of Salmonella. Twenty-one of the floater samples and 11 of the sinker samples were positive for Salmonella: 2.0% prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 3.1%) and 0.37% prevalence (95% CI, 0.21 to 0.67%), respectively, for a weighted average prevalence of 0.61%. Levels of Salmonella were determined for positive samples using a most-probable-number (MPN) method with multiple 50-g, three 5.6-g, and three 0.56-g subsamples. Geometric mean levels of Salmonella in floaters and sinkers were 0.66 MPN/100 g (0.14 to 5.3 MPN/100 g) and 0.18 MPN/100 g (0.10 to 0.62 MPN/100 g), respectively. Seven different serovars were identified among the isolates, with nine pulsed-field gel electrophoresis fingerprints; as many as four serovars were isolated from some samples. Salmonella serovars Montevideo (44%), Enteritidis (19%), Senftenberg (16%), Worthington (12%), and Liverpool (9.4%) were most commonly isolated from the initial 100-g samples. The prevalence and levels of Salmonella in pistachios are within those observed for other tree nuts, but the limited number of serovars isolated suggests a narrow and persistent contamination source.