WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety


eNewsletter, April-May 2018

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter

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Please have a look at where we've been and upcoming events in food safety and security. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis

NARMS Retail Meat Meeting | May 21-22, 2018, Silver Spring, MD
The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Retail Meat Meeting was held at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) on May 21-22, 2018.  Patrick McDermott, the Director of NARMS, talked about the history and future of NARMS.  A discussion of the role of NARMS included presentations on the FDA and Antimicrobial Drug Approvals (FDA), the CDC and Food Safety (CDC), and the NARMS and FSIS-A History of Successful Collaborations (USDA FSIS). The FDA NARMS team also presented research at FDA including NARMS Reports and Resistome Tracker, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) in NARMS, Statistical Analysis of NARMS Data, and Metagenomics. The NARMS has identified WGS as a novel approach to augment the research and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. Currently health departments in 21 states and Institutions of higher education in four states participate in the NARMS program.Maurice Pitesky and Katie Lee attended the meeting to represent Veterinary Medicine Extension and WIFSS. 

WIFSS became a member of NARMS in 2017 and started surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in retail meat in southern California in January 2018. The plaque shown below was issued to WIFSS as a NARMS member.

Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in retail food in southern California
Since January 2018, Xunde Li from WIFSS and Veterinary Medicine Extension collaborators have been conducting surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in retail food in southern California with FDA partners. Retail chicken, ground turkey, ground beef and pork chop specimens have been collected monthly from grocery stores in the Greater Los Angeles Area including West Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Irvine, and Ontario. E. coliEnterococcusSalmonella, and Campylobacter isolates from samples are being shipped to CVM monthly. The FDA NARMS team at CVM will test for antimicrobial susceptibility of these bacteria in order to monitor the trends of antimicrobial resistance among foodborne bacteria in retail meat in this populated and demographically diverse area. 
NARMS member plaque issued to WIFSS

Global One Health Research, The Future | April 5, 2018, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
Rob Atwill, Director of WIFSS, gave a presentation on the complex population health and food safety issues at the Global One Health Research, The Futureinternational symposium held on the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) campus in the Netherlands, April 3-8. His keynote lecture entitled, “Climate perturbations on the risk of microbial contamination of fresh produce in the western US agricultural system,” was part of a 3-day symposium organized by Wageningen in cooperation with Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU), and UC Davis.  The symposium showcased innovations that can tackle the future needs in global one health research, and improve cooperation between researchers and different stakeholders to make the combined approach work. Bennie Osburn, director for outreach and training at WIFSS, presented an overview on One Health for food safety and animal health.

UC Davis and NAU are forming a consortium that includes UCD, NAU, WUR, and Massey University of New Zealand, which will develop innovative one health programs for agriculture and animal health.

Other participants from Davis included Richard Pereira, Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine; Jorge Rodrigues, CA&ES Department of Land, Air and Water Resources; Rachel Danielson, PhD graduate student in the soils and biogeochemistry program; Yitong Huang, graduate student Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine; Kyuyoung Lee, PhD graduate student working in influenza viruses at wild-domestic-human interface; and Tim Carpenter, Professor Emeritus in the EpiCentre at Massey University in New Zealand and the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS) in the Veterinary School.

Skills Enhancement for PSA Grower Trainers Workshop | May 30-31, 2018, Davis, CA
Trevor Suslow, Director of the UC Postharvest Center, hosted a 2-day workshop for Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) trainers and public agency staff involved in FSMA Produce Safety inspector training and related regulatory activities. On Day 1, Michele Jay-Russell presented FSMA-focused research on pathogen persistence in manures and compost as part of an interactive session on practical soil management and soil amendments. On Day 2,  Linda Harris (bottom right) and Jay-Russell presented Training How-To's: Assessing risk in relation to farming practices (Harris) and Assessing risk and management options for wildlife intrusion (Jay-Russell). Harris also gave a demonstration session on understanding water quality parameters using the Auto-calculator, a Surface Water MWQP Excel Tool developed at WCFS.

Over 50 trainers and inspectors from 20 states participated in the workshop. Other speakers included Connie Landis Fisk and Gretchen Wall from PSA,  Barbara Hanson from the Alaska Office of the State Veterinarian, and Stelios Viazis from the FDA CFSAN Produce Safety Network, Western Region. The Produce Safety Network Directory for the four regions shown on the map (top right) can be found here.

UC Davis World Food Center Food for Thought Showcase | May 7, 2018, Davis, CA

Michele Jay-Russell gave a pitch for WIFSS at the first of two Food for Thought Showcases held in the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center.  The event, organized by the World Food Center, featured a series of elevator pitches from UC Davis programs, institutes, and centers that work in all aspects of the food system. A networking reception and showcase followed the pitch session.

Lunch Time Challenge Video Conference | April 24, 2018
WIFSS staff participated in a video conference call with undergraduate students from Nanjing Agricultural University as the students reported on the Lunch Time Challenge. The April 24 conference call allowed the 27 students to spotlight their presentations on the work they’d completed over a period of 16 lunchtimes, amounting to more than 24 hours, in which they developed well-planned strategies for collecting relevant information through surveys, seeking solutions to identified problems, and defining a means of informing the public of the issues.  Students from the teams FELPAB, Return of the King, Shield, and Davis Warriors competed in the Lunch Time Challenge upon their return from the NAU-UC Davis Education Conference on One Health for Food Safety and Security, held at UC Davis, January through February 9, 2018. During the 3-week conference four teams identified problems they wanted to address which they feel are impacting people, animals, and the environment.
FEL PAB, which stands for food, ecology, life science, plant, animal, and biology, identified pesticide residues on fruit peel; Shield focused on medical care service and medical waste on campus. Return of the King held a “war on plastics” and raised public attention to plastic waste and formulated a strategy which encourages a habit of garbage classification and recycling. The Davis Warriors conducted a series of experiments to test words from the internet that is about food safety.  Their theme was “Food safety worth concerning.” 
Swedish Delegation | April 20, 2018, Davis, CA
WIFSS hosted a meeting for U.S. and Swedish representatives from academia, government agencies, and industry to develop educational materials for training the agricultural sector on food and water safety, and to discuss means for upgrading civil defense systems. The visit included a discussion on dairy farm security and a field trip to a cattle ranch. The Swedish representatives have been working with WIFSS to develop strategies to enhance and harden the target of their food and agricultural systems.

Heather Johnson, David Goldenberg, Mike Payne, and Bennie Osburn, from WIFSS greeted participants from institutions including: the FBI, California Office of Emergency Services, National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, the Swedish Defense Research Agency, and the FBI’s InfraGard.
University of Washington One Health Course | April 19, 2018, Seattle, WA
Michele Jay-Russell was a guest lecturer in a graduate/undergraduate course offered by the Center for One Health Research in the School of Public Health.  The course is led by Marguerite Pappaioanou and includes case-based approaches using historical outbreaks and public health scenarios. Jay-Russell’s Case Study with the class focused on an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to bagged baby spinach. 

RPDC West Virginia Class | April 17, 2018, Sutton, WV
The Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) Management 448 class was delivered to an audience that included representatives from all levels of local, state and federal government agencies, with an emphasis on roles & responsibilities of the West Virginia Rapid Response Team.  The course was taught by Tracey Stevens, an Instructor and Trainer with WIFSS
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Deputy Commissioner, Joe Hatton actively participated in the training with positive regards to the future of West Virginia Agriculture and the statewide stakeholders. A planning meeting was held at the State Department of Agriculture in Guthrie, WV, the following day with LPOC (Local Point of Contact) Judith Ashcraft, Deputy Commissioner Roy Mc Callister, Hatton and Instructor Tracey Stevens. A request for a Regional Training Conference for the states of West Virginia, D.C., Kentucky, Virginia, and New Jersey, has been planned for October of 2018, in which both the RDPC AWR 328 and MGT 448 courses will be delivered.
The management level course MGT 448 provides emergency planners, community leaders, veterinarians, animal control personnel, government and non-government agencies and public health agencies with the background information needed to participate in the development of disaster response plans that could be included within the existing operational area.
MGT 448 is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), RDPC, and WIFSS. DHS gives certificates to those completing the course which can be used as proof of training to become part of a disaster team responding to disasters.


USDA Grant Award to Support Food Safety and Honey Bee Health
WIFSS, UC Cooperative Extension office in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, are partnering with Oregon State University in a USDA funded multi-state Specialty Crop project to develop CE training for veterinarians on bee health and antibiotic use—a practice that is now regulated under the veterinary feed directive (VFD). The project will offer a comprehensive bee biology online course and train-the-trainer practical training for veterinarians and apiculture educators. The ultimate goals are to protect the specialty crop, honey, from becoming contaminated with antibiotic residues; to protect the health and safety of bees, which are essential to California agriculture; and, finally, to support veterinary oversight in the use of antibiotics, which will lead to an overall reduction of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment. 
Honey bees play a dual role in the production of specialty crops.  They produce honey, and they are managed as a primary pollinator for a majority of high value specialty crops grown in the contiguous states of California and Oregon, such as nuts, stone fruits, vegetables, and berries. The $483,278 award will address the unique needs of the beekeeping industry that have been experiencing high colony losses since 2006. It will also focus new rules established by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on the use of antibiotics which are used to control certain diseases affecting bee colonies.
Read about it Here.


Produce Safety Alliance Soil Summit Resources

Powerpoints from the Southeastern (see our January 2018 newsletter) and South Central Soil Summits are now available and can be foundhere.

Visit Us at the Annual IAFP Meeting | July 8-11, 2018, Salt Lake City, UT
Several of our faculty and staff will be participating at the upcoming 2018 International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting. Stop by to see presentations of these collaborative research and outreach programs. Check out the Annual Meeting App or IAFP website for the complete program. 

Click on the Titles below to preview a few of the sessions and abstracts:

Round Tables and Symposia

Food Safety Recalls in the Age of Online Grocery Stores (
Monday, July 09, 2018: 01:30 PM - 03:00 PM)

Pathogens in Soil: a Focus on Salmonella and STEC Survival in Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin (Tuesday, July 10, 2018; 08:30 AM - 10:00 AM)

Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli and Leafy Greens: Is it Déjà vu All Over Again? (Wednesday, July 11, 2018; 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)

Oral Presentations and Posters - 
Monday, July 9 Tuesday, July 10 Wednesday, July 11

eNewsletter, February-March 2018

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter

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Welcome to our first newsletter in a bimonthly format. The WCFS-WIFSS joint newsletter has been published continuously since 2010. Let us know if you have any feedback or questions. Please have a look at where we've been and upcoming events in food safety and security. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


California Leafy Greens Research Board Meeting | March 27, 2018, Pismo Beach, CA &
UC Cooperative Extension Irrigation and Nutrient Management Meeting
 | February 13, 2018, Salinas, CA
Anne-laure and Laura Murphy (UCCE Monterey) collecting a Moore swab from a Salinas reservoir
Anne-laure Moyne, research scientist with WCFS in the Harris Lab, was invited to present her research “Microbial food safety risks of reusing tail water for production of leafy greens” at the annual California Leafy greens Research Board  and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Irrigation and Nutrient meetings.  The research has been funded over the past 3 years by WCFS, the Center for Produce Safety, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Leafy Greens Research Program. The research was a collaboration between WCFS and water and leafy greens experts in Monterey County, Cooperative Extension Advisors Michael Cahn (PI) and Steve Koike. Tail water reservoirs throughout the Salinas Valley were microbiologically and chemically characterized in the first year of the study and the survival of Salmonella and shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157:H7 was evaluated in representative water samples alone and applied to soil and growing lettuce. Research projects funded by the California Leafy Green Research Program were presented during the meeting that was attended by the California leafy greens industry and research scientist from the USDA and Universities  Plant breeding and genetics, insect and disease management, cultural practices and weed management and post harvest and food safety were the four research area covered during the meeting. More than 100 people attended.

The UCCE meeting focused on regulation of water discharge from agriculture operation (Ag order) and provided more than 100 growers with new or improved agricultural practice to prevent release of pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers and salts in surface and ground water.  

2nd Annual Meeting of the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety | March 27-28, 2018, Davis, CA
The 2nd Annual Meeting of the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety (WRCEFS) was held at the UC Davis Conference Center. Erin DiCaprio and Linda Harris coordinated a dynamic 2-day program with Oregon State University’s Robert McGorrin (PI, WRCEFS) and Jovana Kovacevic (Assistant Professor, Food Safety Extension and Research). DiCaprio presented an update on research and training in the southwest sub-region. Over a dozen short reports on USDA NIFA Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program(FSOP) activities and “add-on” projects across the western region were summarized. FSOP provides funding for food safety training and education for small and mid-sized producers and processors affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Michele Jay-Russell and Alda Pires were invited to co-present an update on soil amendments including current research with the organic farming community. Jay-Russell also gave a brief presentation on wildlife and co-management, which was followed by break-out groups to discuss these topics. Agricultural water was the focus on the second day. Harris finished the program with a tour of the UC Davis Food Science and Technology Department facilities.

2018 World Ag Expo | February 15, 2018, Tulare, CA
David Goldenberg discussed ways at the World Ag Expo to harden farms and food processing plants from intentional adulteration
WIFSS’ David Goldenberg, Food Safety & Security Training Coordinator, presented “Principles of Food Security Planning and Management” during the 2018 World Ag Expo, in Tulare.  David’s presentation, given on February 15 during the Women in Agriculture for Mentoring and Empowerment (WAME) Seminar, highlighted vulnerabilities in the food system due to Agroterrorism.  FBI Special Agent Sheldon Fung discussed threats and vulnerabilities, whereas Goldenberg reviewed recommendations on how the agriculture sector can forestall intentional adulteration of the food supply.  WIFSS has multiple projects and resources to train members of the agriculture community about the dangers of Agroterrorism and preventative measures.  WIFSS received a Specialty Crop Grant from the California Department of Food & Agriculture to assist companies in developing food defense plans as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act.  WIFSS will soon be revising its Department of Homeland Security AWR-152 Principles of Preparedness for Agroterrorism and Food Systems’ Disasters.
Produce Safety Alliance Water Summit | February 27-28, 2018, Covington, KY and remote sites
Participants at WCFS listen to Melissa Partyka give an overview of an Ag Water related break-out session Photo: R Bond
The Produce Safety Alliance held a 2-day Water Summit on February 27-28 at the Radisson Hotel—Cincinnati Waterfront in Covington, KY.  Melissa Partyka (WCFS) attended in person, while Linda Harris and Erin DiCaprio hosted one of eight remote sites in the Western Region at WCFS in Davis on behalf of the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety. The remote site was attended by 10 additional participants including Alda PiresRonny Bond, and members of the produce industry, UC Cooperative Extension and CDFA. In the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR), microbial quality standards were established for agricultural water that comes in contact with produce to reduce risks associated with agricultural water use. However, FDA received feedback from numerous stakeholders raising concerns that some of these standards may be too complex to understand and difficult to implement. In response to these concerns, FDA is considering how to address these issues by exploring ways to simplify the PSR standards related to agricultural water. The summit included informational presentations and break out discussions – comments from the group in Davis were fed back to a designated spokesperson in Ohio who was able to share them with the group. Melissa was able to give feedback on WCFS agricultural water projects that have been completed or currently underway.

More information on the summit including slides can be found here.  A recording of the summit may be found on this site, as well as a link for submitting comments. Read Samir Assar's FDA Voice blog post, "In Forum and On Farms, FDA Partners Work to Harvest Agreement on Water Issues."
Aquaculture America 2018 | February 19-22, 2018, Las Vegas, CAe.
Michele Jay-Russell participated in a full-day session on Aquaponics at the Aquaculture America 2018 annual conference. The conference was sponsored by the World Aquaculture Society (WAS) and their partners - the US Aquaculture Society, a chapter of WAS; the National Aquaculture Association; and the Aquaculture Suppliers Association.

For approximately two years, Jay-Russell and collaborators have been conducting research to assess potential zoonotic risks associated with aquaponic production of fish and fresh produce using a system designed at the Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture (CABA).This international conference provided an exciting opportunity to network with other researchers conducting aquaponics-related research around the world. Elizabeth Antaki-Zukoski, former WCFS postdoc with Jay-Russell, lead the study and is currently preparing to publish results from the experimental greenhouse trials using a lettuce-tilapia model. Co-PI and co-author, Esteban Soto, also attended the conference and presented in the Aquatic Animal Health and Diagnostics session.

Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture and hydroponics that is now being used as an example of sustainable food production. Because fresh vegetables are usually consumed raw, there are concerns about microbial food safety and zoonotic risks from fish waste. The Produce Safety Rule preamble states that covered produce grown in aquaponic systems is subject to the same potential for contamination from agricultural water, biological soil amendments of animal origin, and animals as covered produce grown using non-aquaponic systems. The purpose of this study was to determine the survival, persistence, and transfer via root uptake of an attenuated Salmonella strain in a closed-loop recirculating aquaponic system (RAS) used for tilapia and butterhead lettuce production. Data from this study will fill knowledge gaps regarding how foodborne pathogens may persist and move through a RAS system, and promote development of good agriculture practices specific to aquaponics. 

The complete abstract text can be seen here.

Jay-Russell, M.T., E. Antaki-Zukoski, G. Mangalam, P. Aminabadi, F.A. Sebastião, B. Martínez López, F. Conte, O. Illanes, R.N. Fong, S. Taber, E. Soto. 2018. Evaluation of food safety risks in aquaponic production of vegetables and tilapia. Aquaculture America 2018, Las Vegas, NV, February 19-22.

AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials | February 6-7, 2018, Schaumburg, IL
Michele Jay-Russell attended the American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA) Committee on Antimicrobials (CoA) in-person meeting held near the AVMA headquarters. The Committee was organized to serve as the primary resource to the AVMA on antimicrobial issues and provide oversight of all AVMA antimicrobial policies. The membership is made up of 9 voting seats and an at-large member including representatives from in avian, bovine, equine, fish, small animal, small ruminants, and swine practice, as well as food safety and veterinary public health. Michele Jay-Russel currently serves as the alternate representative for the American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians (AAFSPHV), along with primary representative and CoA Vice-Chair, Joni Scheftel. Terry Lehenbauer, also from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, attended the meeting as the representative for the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP).

The CoA achieved a major milestone when the AVMA Board of Directors and House of Delegates voted unanimously to approve the AVMA “Policy On Stewardship Definition and Core Principles” developed by the committee. This policy is a consensus document and is very important first step in moving the profession forward from policy based on judicious usage guidance towards antimicrobial stewardship, which includes disease prevention and good management as a core principle. The stewardship policy and core principles are available on the AVMA website at: https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Antimicrobial-Stewardship-Definition-and-Core-Principles.aspx 
AAFSPHV representative Joni Scheftel (right) and alternate Michele Jay-Russell at the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials meeting

Global Food Security Course, University of Pennsylvania | March 27, 2018, via Skype
Bennie Osburn was a guest lecturer in the University of Pennsylvania’s Anthropology 461-401 Course on Global Food Security.  He addressed the crowd of more than 100 students and faculty about veterinary medicine’s role in food safety, emphasizing the benefit of taking a One Health approach to solving the complex problem of thousands of illnesses and deaths caused each year by foodborne diseases. The audience gathered in a Penn Vet classroom to listen to the 50 minute lecture via Skype on March 27. 

The global food security course is an interdisciplinary course organized by the University of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine and offered through the department of Anthropology. It focuses on the problems of food demand and consumption, production and supply in our increasingly globalized and urbanizing world. Special attention is paid to the intersections of current technologies of food production, current nutritional problems, environmental change and resource degradation, and the changing quality of human social life under globalization.
Management Course | February 28, 2018, Tallahassee, FL
It was a full house at the course in Tallahassee with more than 50 participants
MGT 448, All Hazards Planning for Animal, Agricultural, and Flood Related Disasters, held in Tallahassee on February 28th was the first cross-training effort for the Florida State Animal Response Team (SART) and Florida’s Integrated Rapid Response Team (FLIRRT).  Tracey Stevens, an instructor and trainer with WIFSS, presented the course, with the support of Summer Williams from FLIRRT and LeiAnna Tucker with SART.

This management level course provides emergency planners, and other essential community members, with the background information needed to participate in the development of supplemental animal, agricultural, and food (AAF) related disaster response plans that could be included within the existing EOP for an operational area (OA).

Dairy Expo Planning Meeting | February 22, 2018, Sacramento, CA
WIFSS staff members Dr. Michael Payne and David Goldenberg are working with the FBI in designing and running a dairy table top exercise to provide awareness of vulnerabilities in the chain of production from cow to consumer.  The proposed day long exercise will take place in the Sacramento area.  Attending the first planning meeting on February 22 in addition to Payne and Goldenberg were FBI Special Agents Sheldon Fung, Sunshine Adams, Todd Piantedosi, California State Veterinarian Annette Jones, and California Milk Advisory Board Director of Communications Jennifer Giambroni.
FSMA Produce Safety Rule Hybrid Training Meeting | February 21, 2018, Davis, CA
Alda Pires listens as Bennie Osburn welcomes the steering team members joining the meeting in-person. Erin Di Caprio, Heather Johnson and Greg Wlasiuk monitor participants joining the meeting online
The Specialty Crop Growers FSMA Produce Safety Rule Training Team kicked off the start of the 2 ½ year project to develop training materials for specialty crop growers in California. The team developing a guide for California's mid- and small- farm specialty crop growers to meet the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) held a webinar/in-person meeting on Feb 21.  Bennie Osburn, director for Outreach and Training at WIFSS, UC Cooperative Extension specialist Alda Pires, UCCE specialist Erin DiCaprio, Heather Johnson, instructional systems designer, and Ronald Bond, water quality researcher and field coordinator, along with Gregory Wlasiuk, E-learning curriculum designer from WIFSS, were present in Valley Hall to spearhead the hybrid meeting. Donna Pahl from the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA), gave overviews of PSA training and outreach materials, and Steve Patton, CDFA, gave an update on FSMA.
Produce Safety Alliance Courses | February-March, 2018, Central Valley, CA

Linda Harris was lead instructor for a PSA Grower Training Course for almond growers on February 8 in Modesto with Tim Birmingham from the Almond Board of California. She led the same course for pistachio growers in Visalia on February 9 with co-instructors Michele Jay-Russell and Bwalya Lungu (Food Science Dept., UC Davis). The almond-specific course was repeated in Sacramento on March 2 and in Tulare on March 14. An  additional pistachio-specific course was held on March 29 with co-instructors Michele Jay-Russell and Michelle Danyluk from the University of Florida. Another pistachio course is scheduled in Tulare for April 14.

This course provides a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. Information about agricultural water (production and post-harvest), worker hygiene and training, soil amendments, wildlife and land use, and post-harvest handling and sanitation is included. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement that "At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration."


Microbial Challenge Testing for Foods | May 15-16, 2018, Chicago, IL
Linda Harris will again participate in the IAFP Microbial Challenge Testing workshop in May.  This popular course is based on the report of the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) on conducting challenge studies. A detailed description of the course content is available here.


Wild Rodents and Food Safety

Rob Atwill, Xunde Li, and Michele Jay-Russell, in collaboration with Roger Baldwin of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, the Yolo County UC Cooperative Extension, and Wildlife Services-USDA, found that wildlife trapped in proximity to hedgerows adjacent to tomato fields or walnut orchards did not have significantly higher prevalence of key food safety pathogens compared to wildlife trapped from tomato fields or walnut orchards with conventional field edges. Similar to earlier published work conducted on produce farms in central coastal California (Kilonzo et al., 2013) deer mice were the most commonly trapped wildlife in these agricultural systems. These wild rodents had a very low occurrence of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and non-O157 STEC. In contrast to this low prevalence of bacterial pathogens, around 24 to 25% of mostly deer mice from walnut orchards were shedding Cryptosporidium and Giardia, but the low levels of (oo)cysts in these positive fecal samples prevented DNA confirmation as to the human infectivity of these genotypes of protozoal parasites. Prior work (Kilonzo et al., 2017) determined that about half of the genotypes of Cryptosporidium from deer mice trapped on California produce farms appear to be human infective, but the Giardia being shed by deer mice does not appear to be human infective (Sellers et al., 2018).

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 79(20): 6337-6344. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01503-13.
Kilonzo, C., X. Li, T.Vodoz, C.Xiao, J.A. Chase, M. T. Jay-Russell, E.J. Vivas, and E.R. Atwill. 2017Quantitative Shedding of Multiple Genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia by Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in a Major Agricultural Region on the California Central Coast. J. Food Prot. 80 (5): 819-828.
Sellers, L.A., R.F.Long, M.T.Jay-Russell, X.Li, E.R.Atwill, R.M.Engeman, and R.A.Baldwin. 2018.  Impact of field-edge habitat on mammalian wildlife abundance, distribution, and vectored foodborne pathogens in adjacent crops.  Crop Protection 108 (June) pp. 1-11. 

Preharvest Food Safety in Bangkok

Rob Atwill visited Assistant Professor Saharuetai Jeamsripong, Department of Veterinary Public Health, at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in early February to finalize work on a preharvest oyster food safety project and to help launch a new effort on raw produce food safety among small and large retail vendors in the greater Bangkok area. Dr. Jeamsripong, in collaboration with scientists at WIFSS and the WCFS, are rapidly expanding the food safety programs at their Department of Veterinary Public Health. Dr. Jeamsripong is a PhD graduate from the graduate Group in Epidemiology from UC Davis where she worked with Michele Jay and Rob Atwill on in-field mechanisms of bacterial contamination of lettuce with funding from FDA.

The native California shrub toyon, or Christmas berry, blooms with white flowers in a hedgerow planted behind Rachael Long and a tomato grower.
Sellers, L.A., R.F. Long, M.T. Jay-Russell, X. Li, E.R. Atwill, R.M. Engeman, and R.A. Baldwin. 2018.  Impact of field-edge habitat on mammalian wildlife abundance, distribution, and vectored foodborne pathogens in adjacent crops.  Crop Protection 108 (June) pp. 1-11.

  • Hedgerows were associated with greater wildlife abundance and diversity.
  • Hedgerows did not generally yield greater wildlife incursion into field interiors.
  • Hedgerows did not have any noticeable impact on foodborne pathogen prevalence.
  • In tested crop systems, hedgerows did not increase human-wildlife conflict concerns.
Read more about the study at the UCCE San Joaquin blog.


eNewsletter, January 2018

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


Melissa Partyka discusses FSMA water quality research conducted by the Atwill Lab (WCFS)
Washington State Water Resources Association Annual Meeting | December 6-8, 2017, Spokane, WA

Melissa Partyka  was invited to present at the 2017 Washington State Water Resources Association in Spokane WA. Her 60-minute talk entitled Food Safety Modernization Act Update and Report on Irrigation Canal Sampling Study”, 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 research. The audience was made up of over irrigators, lawyers, engineers, growers, and resource agencies interested in current water quality regulations and their potential impact on resource management.

Betsy Bihn, PSA Director, wraps up Day 2 of the Southeastern Soil Summit in Atlanta

The Annual Conference of the US Composting Council is the largest gathering of organics recycling professionals anywhere.
Southeastern Soil Summit and 26th Annual Conference of the US Composting Council | January 21-25, 2018, Atlanta, GA

Michele Jay-Russell attended the Produce Safety Alliance’s (PSA) third soil summit held in conjunction with the U.S. Composting Council (USCC) Annual Conference (COMPOST2018 – Building Sustainable Communities) at the Westin Peachtree in Atlanta.

The goal of the Southeastern Soil Summit (SESS) was to build upon the body of knowledge developed at the first Soil Summit hosted by PSA in March 2017 and to explore regional differences in soil amendment use and challenges. There are many types of soil amendments used on fruit and vegetable farms across the country. Soil amendments such as compost and raw manure benefit crop growth, soil fertility and tilth, but also help manage waste from animal agriculture. Though there are many benefits to their use, there can also be environmental and food safety risks presented. Raw manure, in particular, has a higher potential to contain foodborne pathogens that can cause illness, especially if fruits and vegetables become contaminated, either directly (e.g., improper application or processing of compost) or indirectly (e.g., through contaminated irrigation water from runoff).
Jay-Russell served as a facilitator for three breakout groups, and presented “Current FDA Efforts on Risk Assessment & Research” on behalf of David Ingram, Consumer Safety Officer, FDA Division of Produce Safety, Fresh Produce Branch. FDA has addressed food safety risks associated with the use of soil amendments through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule that was published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2015. Jay-Russell and other WCFS researchers and collaborators have been working closely with FDA scientists to quantify the risk of human illness associated with the consumption of produce grown in fields amended with untreated biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO) and to evaluate the impact of interventions that include the use of an application interval (or intervals).
SESS was hosted by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Produce Safety Services; Produce Safety Alliance; Southern Center for Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance to Enhance Produce Safety; University of Georgia Extension; US Composting Council; & Georgia Department of Agriculture.
Water Summit Registration Open
PSA is hosting a two-day Water Summit on February 27-28 that will include informational presentations and break out discussions.  Participants will explore challenges related to the requirements of Subpart E – Agricultural Water and discuss potential solutions that are workable while protecting public health. In-person registration is full, but information on a free live one-way audio and video stream remote option can be found here.


Jonna Mazet presents a comprehensive overview of the on-going global surveillance for pathogens taking place through the One Health Institute’s PREDICT program at FBI-sponsored workshop.
Crime-Epi Investigations Course | January 3-4, 2018, Davis, CA

WIFSS and the School of Veterinary Medicine hosted the FBI-sponsored Animal-Plant Health Joint Criminal-Epidemiological Investigations Course held on the UC Davis campus, January 3-4. The course is part of a new curriculum series developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD)-Biological Countermeasures Unit (BCU) and the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), which instructs about the basics of animal and plant diseases and joint investigations.

More than 100 attendees from animal and plant commodities, state and federal regulators, state agencies and academics were at the workshop. Jonna Mazet presented an overview of the Predict programs 1,000 newly recognized viruses from wildlife some of which have the potential to cause human diseases.  Scott Dees from Minnesota reported on the vehicle for bringing a virus from China’s pig population into the US in animal feeds that ultimately caused the death 10% of the pig population.  
Building inter-professional relationships between law enforcement and animal/plant health experts is an important factor in the course curriculum. During breakout sessions in Davis participants discussed best practices for conducting a joint threat assessment, joint investigations and interviews, and evidence collection. Participants walked away with a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities during an outbreak of an unusual and/or high consequence of animal or plant disease.
Statewide Pistachio Day | January 17, 2018, Visalia, CA
Linda Harris attended the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Pistachio Day, where she gave a presentation on "FSMA Agriculture Water Testing Requirements for Pistachio Growers."  Other presentations included "Mycotoxins and their Impact on Pistachio Export Markets," by Bob Klein, Manager, California Pistachio Research Board, and sessions on horticulture topics and integrated pest management (IPM) as related to pistachios.  About 500 growers attended.
NAU-UC Davis Education Conference on One Health for Food Safety and Security  | January 22 - February 9, 2018, Davis, CA

The NAU-UC Davis Education Conference on One Health for Food Safety and Security, held at the University of California, Davis, January 22 – February 9, is hosted by WIFSS.  The conference provides an in-depth educational experience for undergraduate students from Nanjing Agricultural University to learn about the importance of applying a One Health approach to solving problems concerning food safety and security, and animal health. The comprehensive program includes lectures, field trips, and team-building exercises which increase the students’ awareness of taking a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex problems concerning the health of people, animals and the environment. This One Health approach to solving problems is critical in promoting progress towards safer, better quality food systems and healthy animals in China. 

WIFSS One Health conferences are building the foundation for the establishment of a One Health Center for Food Safety and Animal Health at NAU. Research and education programs at the Center will focus on understanding and dissemination of information for food safety, water quality and animal health. NAU students, schooled in teamwork at the conferences, will be the future teachers and researchers at the Center.


Partyka, M.L., Bond, R.F., Chase, J.A. and Atwill, E.R. (2018) Spatial and temporal variability of bacterial indicators and pathogens in six California reservoirs during extreme drought. Water Research 129, 436-446.
Graphical Abstract
The Atwill Water and Foodborne Disease Laboratory continues to look at the water quality of irrigation water supplies continuing the mission of researching all aspects of the water delivery continuum. The purpose of this study was to further understanding of the variability of fecal indicator bacteria (Escherichia coli and fecal coliforms) and pathogens (E. coli O157:H7 (O157), non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Salmonella) along both horizontal and vertical profiles within California reservoirs. Monthly sampling was conducted in six reservoirs located in the foothills of the Western Sierra Nevada during the summer irrigation season and extreme drought conditions of 2014 (n ¼ 257). Concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria were highly variable between reservoirs (p < 0.05) and along the horizontal profile (p < 0.001) from upstream to downstream, with higher concentrations typically found outside of the reservoirs than within. Though many of the reservoirs were thermally stratified, bacterial concentrations were not associated with water temperature (p > 0.05) or any one particular depth strata (p < 0.05). However, prevalence of Salmonella and STEC (16/70 and 9/70 respectively) was higher in the deep strata than in mid or surface layers. We found no statistical association between samples collected downstream of reservoirs and those from the reservoirs themselves. Continued monitoring and modeling of both bacterial indicators and enteric pathogens are critical to our ability to estimate the risk of surface irrigation water supplies and make appropriate management decisions.

eNewsletter, December 2017

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


Bennie Osburn joins Jiangsu Province dignitaries beside aquaculture display at the China Jiangsu Modern Agricultural Science and Technology Conference
China Jiangsu-Modern Agricultural Science and Technology Conference | December 1-2, 2017, Nanjing, China

WIFSS participated in the China Jiangsu Modern Agricultural Science and Technology Conference at the invitation of Nanjing Agricultural University(NAU). The conference, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China, Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government was held at the Nanjing Convention Center.

The conference aimed to establish a platform for communication and matchmaking between experts, scholars and research institutes in agricultural fields, and promote the integration of science and technology and agriculture.

Davis joined Cornell University, Michigan State University and NAU with displays at the convention. Bennie Osburn, Chris Brunner, and Ronny Bond staffed the booth for UC Davis on December 1st featuring One Health, food safety, and water quality scientific posters and banners.

Bennie Osburn and Xinbin Chen met with officials from Wageningen University and the Vice President of NAU to discuss plans for the Wageningen University Centennial Celebration which is focusing on One Health.  NAU, UC Davis, and Wageningen University and Research (WUR) will focus on the future impacts of climate change on animals, people, and the environment.  There will also be additional planning for the Joint International Laboratory in Nanjing involving NAU, WUR and UC Davis.  The laboratory will become the One Health training arena for graduate student research on problems of importance to China and Southeast Asia.


FARMS Leadership Advanced 2017-2018: Food Safety | December 12, 2017, UCCE Kern County

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Kern County hosted a group of high school students for a one-day learning and discussion forum on major food safety issues. The students are part of the Center for Land-Based Learning FARMS (Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability) Leadership Program. This problem-based learning program provides students with the opportunity to meet with industry to research, collect data, develop critical thinking and communication skills to solve an Agricultural issue. Students were posed with this question for the 2017-18 year to analyze: “How can agriculture assure the consumer that their food is safe?”
Michele Jay-Russell joined Julie Finzel, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UCCE Kern County, by webinar to present “What’s on your Plate? Keeping Food Safe from Farm to Fork.” Other presentations ranged from pesticide safety to genetically engineered crops and animals to consumer food safety. The students will also participate in Field Days during the upcoming year. Their schedule can be found here.

WIFSS AMR Video Series
In order to support livestock producers facing new regulations, Michael Payne, Dairy Outreach Coordinator, with the help of Greg Wlasiuk, WIFSS Curriculum Designer, recently completed the development of a series of short informational videos for dairy producers. The goal of this video series is to raise awareness about the facts around antibiotic resistance and describes how to implement sustainable livestock medication practices. Benefits to updating farm protocols potentially include reducing medication costs and preserving treatment effectiveness on the farm. This video series is available online.  Read complete story.


Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training | December 7, 2017, Exeter, CA
Michele Jay-Russell served as a certified co-trainer with Trevor Suslow, Extension Research Specialist and Director of the UC Postharvest Center , to deliver the PSA Grower Training Curriculum for citrus industry growers, food safety professionals, packers and handlers. The training was sponsored by Sunkist, and included approximately 100 participants. Upcoming grower training courses can be found here.


Visiting Professor | December 2017 - November 2018

WIFSS welcomes Professor Wang Jin from Jiangsu Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry.  Professor Wang teaches courses in College English, Listening and Speaking English, and English Interpretation at Jiangsu.  Wang’s research focuses on English technical communication and intercultural communication. She has several publications including, “From the view of A Dream in Red Mansions to understand the Subjectivity of Translation Researchers.”

While on board at WIFSS for a one-yr sabbatical Wang will assist with course development, participate in translation of relevant information for One Health Center for Food Safety program, provide translation for vocational colleges from China, and develop a Cooperation of Agreement between UC Davis and Jiangsu Vocational College of Agriculture and Forestry.
Professor Wang Jin (Center) is welcomed by WIFSS staff Emily Kunz, Bennie Osburn, Heather Johnson, and Robert Pattison
Visiting Students

Three graduate students (Master’s) from the College of Life Science of Ningxia University of China are visiting the WIFSS laboratory. The objective of their visit to UC Davis was to learn about food-producing animal agriculture and food safety in California. They are interested in WIFSS food safety research programs related to antimicrobial resistance. After completion of laboratory safety training, the students participate in laboratory research of detection, isolation and identification of foodborne bacteria from agricultural and food samples. Specifically, the students are working on isolation E. coliEnterococcusCampylobacter, and Salmonella from dairy samples; testing bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics; and preparation genomic DNA libraries in order to identify resistomes by sequencing at the UC Davis Genome Center. The students will also visit other departments and conduct literature studies during their short-term visit. 
Students (left to right) are : Xixi Wu; Jia Luo; Wen Zhang




eNewsletter, November 2017

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


Visiting Delegation from China | November 14, 2017, Davis, CA

Bennie Osburn spoke to members of a delegation from Huazhong Agricultural University. The meeting to promote faculty/student exchange programs as well as joint research cooperation was sponsored by the Office of Global Affairs.  Osburn gave an overview on the application of the concept of One Health for food safety from farm to table.  Attending the meeting from Huazhong were: Chaoxi Luo, Vice Dean of the College of Plant Science and Technology, and Zhengning Zhu, Party Secretary, and Cougui Cao, Former Dean of the College; and Wan Chen, Office Chief of the International Cooperation and Exchange Department.
Advances in Pistachio Production Short Course | November 15, 2017, Visalia, CA

Linda Harris gave a presentation to nearly 200 pistachio growers attending an “Advances in Pistachio Production” Short Course in Visalia, CA.  In her presentation entitled "Food Safety and FSMA in Pistachio Production” she covered the unique production, harvest and postharvest handling practices common in the pistachio industry and touched upon the Produce Safety Rule and the upcoming impact on growers.  http://ucanr.edu/sites/PistachioShortCourse/


eNewsletter, October 2017

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


121st Meeting of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) Annual Meeting | October 15, 2017, San Diego, CA

Michele Jay-Russell gave two presentations at Sunday's Food Safety Symposium during the USAHA annual meeting. The session was hosted by the American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians (AAFSPHV) jointly with the National Association of Federal Veterinarians (NAFV).  The first presentation, Overview - A One Health Approach to Wildlife and Food Safety, was followed by a talk entitled Foodborne Pathogens in Wildlife Populations.   The conference agenda may be found here.

USAHA, the nation's animal health forum for over a century, is a science-based, non-profit, voluntary organization. Its 1,100 members are state and federal animal health officials, national allied organizations, regional representatives, and individual members. USAHA works with state and federal governments, universities, veterinarians, livestock producers, national livestock and poultry organizations, research scientists, the extension service and several foreign countries to control livestock diseases in the United States.

Amir Mokhtari, Yuhuan Chen, Michele Jay-Russell, and David Oryang (left to right) 
7th Annual FDA Foods and Veterinary Medicine Science and Research Conference | October 17-18, 2017, College Park, MD

Food Safety, Veterinary Medicine, Nutrition and Cosmetics Research: Meeting the Challenges of a Global Supply Chain

This year’s conference was opened by Susan Mayne, Director of FDA CFSAN, and Stephen Ostroff, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine (FVM), Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Over the two days, FVM research impact and case studies were highlighted by multiple guest speakers, along with oral and poster presentations by FDA scientists and affiliates including CFSAN’s Centers of Excellence. Michele Jay-Russell, representing WCFS, presented a poster with members of CFSAN’s Divisions of Risk and Decision Analysis, Fresh Produce Branch and the Whole Genome Sequencing Program. The multi-state project includes collaborators from the University of Arizona, University of Delaware, and the University of Florida.
Jay-Russell, M.,  Y. Chen, P. AminabadiK. Kniel, P. Rivadeinera, K. Schneider, M. Danyluk, R. Bell, D. Oryang, D. T. Ingram. 2017. Prevalence and levels of STEC and Salmonella in cattle and poultry raw manure in different geographical regions.  7th Annual FDA Foods and Veterinary Medicine Science and Research Conference, October 17-18, College Park, MD.
Annual Centers of Excellence Directors Meeting | October 19, 2017, College Park, MD

Rob Atwill, Linda Harris, and Michele Jay-Russell attended the Annual Centers of Excellence (COE) Directors Meeting.  Each year the FDA hosts a meeting at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for the four FDA COEs: IFSHJIFSANNCNPR and WCFS. This meeting facilitates interactions among the COEs and scientists from CFSAN. Rob, Michele and Linda each presented brief research updates at this year’s COE meeting in College Park.
Incidents Involving Animals Conference | October 21-22, 2017, Davis, CA

On October 21 and 22, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine hosted Incidents Involving Animalsthe third international conference of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA). Attendees included veterinarians, firefighters, animal control officers and emergency planners from across the globe including UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The October conference was building on foundations laid during the 2015 Prague meeting, to exchange information on how to improve welfare of animals and responders during emergencies and disasters.  Michael Payne, part of the WIFSS Animals in Disaster Preparedness team, and a volunteer firefighter with the Vacaville Fire Protection District, participated, sharing information and ideas with other first responders.


UC Davis WIFSS with Delegates from Sweden
Swedish Delegation | October 10-13, 2017, Davis, CA

UC Davis WIFSS hosted a consortium of Swedish university and government agencies to strategize a framework for addressing agroterrorism. The delegation is interested in approaches to civil defense, including threats that would destabilize their agriculture and food systems. The four day conference, “Societal Security and Civil Defense with the Agricultural and the Food Chain Sector” involved representatives from the Swedish Defense University, Institute for National Defense and Security Policy Studies, Swedish Board on Agriculture, National Food Agency, National Veterinary Institute, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences as well as faculty from the University of California, Davis, and representatives from California’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California Department of Food & Agriculture.  During breakout sessions teams worked to formalize goals for an agreement of cooperation between UC Davis WIFSS and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.


All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters | October 7, 2017, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

The All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters workshop (AWR 328) on the University of Minnesota (UM) campus had 56 participants. Many were UM College of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians and veterinary students including University of Minnesota Veterinary Public Health residents and Ecosystem Health fellows. Other participants included USDA Animal Care, MN Board of Animal Health, MN National Guard, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, county Emergency Management personnel, University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps, Minnesota Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps, and MN Hooved Animal Rescue. Tracey Stevens, an Instructor/Trainer with WIFSS, presented the course, with the support of Michelle Willette, a staff veterinarian at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine’s Raptor Center.


WIFSS Receives Two Specialty Crop Grant Funding Awards

FSMA Produce Safety Rule Alignment for California Specialty Crop Growers  
WIFSS received funding from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to create and deliver educational materials for growers to assist in conducting agricultural water sampling and environmental assessments.  We will also help growers develop and keep accurate record systems in efforts to meet FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) standards for safe foods.  Training materials, including on-line and face-to-face field exercises, will be developed for extension specialists and farm advisors. The funding award for the FSMA Produce Safety Rule Alignment for California Specialty Crop Growers grant is $385,842 for 2 1/2 years.

Food Defense and FSMA: How to Model Risks, Vulnerabilities and Implement Mitigation Plans
Members of the WIFSS training team are looking forward to begin work with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) on elements contained in the proposal for “Food Defense and FSMA: How to Model Risks, Vulnerabilities and Implement Mitigation Plans.” The 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) award for $375,000 through the CDFA calls for WIFSS to help specialty crop processing plants conform to the Food Safety Modernization Act requirement for developing food defense plans to protect against intentional food adulteration. WIFSS will develop model templates for different commodities that will be presented at in-person training workshops throughout the state. The grant also includes an online training component to assist processing plants meet their future regulatory requirements to mitigate vulnerabilities.


Linda Harris and Katherine Soule have a new publication in the UC ANR Catalog, Guidelines for Safe Canning of Acid Foods in a Steam Canner (ANR Publication 8573). This is a free publication and can be easily accessed through the statewide website --> Resources --> Publications.   See it here.


eNewsletter, September 2017

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter

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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


Arkansas Association for Food Protection | September 19-21, 2017, Springdale, AR

Linda Harris was an invited speaker at the 2017 Annual Conference of the Arkansas Affiliate of IAFP.   Her presentation was entitled “Low-moisture foods: Food safety challenges and opportunities.”  About one hundred food industry representatives attended.  The Arkansas Association for Food Protection (AAFP) prides itself on encompassing a premier farm-to-fork region with some of the world’s largest companies in the food industry. 


Gail Bornhorst instructing in Food Processing and Technology course for CDPH-FDB investigators.
Food Processing and Technology | September 11-15, 2017, Davis, CA

Linda Harris was one of the instructors (also participating were Juliana Bell, Gail Bornhorst, Erin DiCaprio, Amy Fletcher, Matt Ford, Kang Huang, Nitin Nitin, Chris Simmons) from the Department of Food Science and Technology, along with Steve Smith, PEN Consulting, Inc. who taught the course FD152: Food Processing and Technology to 25 California Department of Public Health Food and Drug Branch Investigators.  This course is part of the FDA ORA-U program for training state, local, and tribal regulators.  The course was held at the August A. Busch III Brewing & Food Science Laboratory taking advantage of the California Processing Tomato Industry Pilot Plant, Milk Processing Laboratory, and Brewery for the laboratory exercises.  
NAU-UC Davis One Health and Food Safety Workshop | September 18-20, 2017, Nanjing, China

Collaborative research projects between UC Davis, Nanjing Agricultural University, and Wageningen University were the focus of the NAU-UC Davis One Health and Food Safety Workshop, held, September 18-20, 2017, at NAU.  These projects help foster graduate training experiences and are the building blocks for a One Health Center for Food Safety and Animal Health at NAU.

Trish Berger and Jorge Rodrigues, (UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences), and Beatriz Martínez López, Robert Poppenga, and Richard Pereira, (School of Veterinary Medicine), along with Ed van Klink from Wageningen teamed with NAU colleagues to discuss potential collaboration, in the fields of epidemiology, animal breeding, antibiotic resistance, prataculture, rangeland and soil science, and chemical toxicology.  Additionally, they reviewed curriculum content and made recommendations for identifying gaps in their respective educational curriculums.

Jenny Chen and Bennie Osburn, WIFSS, met with 40 NAU students about the newly approved 3+X program for NAU undergraduate students offered through UC Davis Office of Global Affairs. This program is an opportunity for NAU students to take upper division courses at Davis to complete a non-thesis MS or MPVM degree.  NAU wants their students to take advantage of this program as part of their global educational initiative.

Chris Brunner and Osburn gave One Health presentations to a large audience of undergraduate students. Some of the students who have attended WIFSS-sponsored One Health for Food Safety conferences at UC Davis, gave enthusiastic testimonials on the impact the conferences, have made on their career goals.

Osburn and Chen met with representatives and administrators of the newly formed Institute for New Rural Development.  The institute extends research information to rural farmers and communities.  The discussions centered on having WIFSS assist with development of educational models for technology transfer and facilitating further workshops for NAU extension personnel.

Osburn, Brunner, and Chen, met with the administrators of Jiangsu Polytechnic College of Agriculture and Forestry for a tour of their teaching and applied research facilities in Jurong City.  Leadership from the college expressed an interest in signing a working agreement with UC Davis to participate in future One Health for Food Safety and Animal Health Conferences for faculty and students.

UC Davis faculty and WIFSS Outreach attend the One Health and Food Safety Workshop at Nanjing Agricultural University (left). WIFSS Outreach poses with NAU professors, and student members of the One Health Club (right).
Farm-to-Fork Festival | September 23, 2017, Sacramento, CA

WIFSS volunteers greeted record-breaking attendance crowds during the fifth annual Farm-to-Fork Festival which took place on Capitol Mall in Sacramento on September 23.  The School of Veterinary Medicine-WIFSS booth included family-friendly games. Participants answering a variety of questions focused on food safety had a chance to win the coveted squishy cow.
Thanks goes to the WIFSS and WCFS team which included Amlin AggrawalJohn AngelosRonald BondJennifer ChaseHeather JohnsonEmily KunzMelissa Partyka, Robert Pattison, and Clare Wei.
Brazilian Dairy Cooperative Meeting | September 25, 2017, Davis, CA

Representatives from the Association of Small and Medium Dairy Cooperatives and Enterprises in Brazil met with Drs. Michael Payne and Bennie Osburn at WIFSS on September 25.  They discussed the overall WIFSS program, and Dr. Payne gave an overview of the California dairy industry and its management and animal welfare practices.

WIFSS and SVM Researchers Receive Grant to Study Antimicrobial Resistance of Bacteria on Retail Meats

Xunde Li, Rob Atwill and Maurice Pitesky from the UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Cooperative Extension received a 5-year grant to study antimicrobial resistance in retail meats sold in Southern California. Collaborators include the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The objectives of the grant include antimicrobial testing of bacteria from retail meats (retail chicken, ground turkey, ground beef and pork chops) sold in West and East Los Angeles, Irvine and Ontario, California.

In addition to the sampling and testing described above, in collaboration with the CDFA and CDPH a database will be developed to better understand the connectivity between antimicrobial resistance on the farm, the retail level and at the patient level. The long-term goal is to better characterize trends in anti-microbial resistance in retail meats and to better understand the effect of policies implemented to mitigate the incidence of anti-microbial resistant bacteria in retail meats sold in the California and beyond. The grant was awarded by the FDA National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) program. The project will foster and leverage collaborations among federal and state agencies and universities in foodborne disease and antibiotic resistance detection and surveillance in order to improve our understanding of antimicrobial resistance in our food supply and ultimately improve the health of food animals and Californians.

FDA Commissioner Addresses State Agriculture Commissioners; Announces New Steps to Enhance Collaboration with States and Ensure Farmers Are Prepared for FSMA

September 12, 2017

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., today outlined a number of immediate next steps in a comprehensive approach to ensuring successful implementation of the Produce Safety Rule established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In a speech in New Orleans at the annual conference of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), Dr. Gottlieb announced that the agency has recognized a need for additional efforts to educate the produce industry and state regulatory partners on the new produce safety requirements, and will continue its focus on training, guidance development, and outreach over the next year. This is particularly important since the nation’s farming community has not previously been subject to this kind of oversight.

Dr. Gottlieb also announced steps the FDA will be taking to address concerns related to the complexity and feasibility of implementing standards for agricultural water. The next steps include the following:
Agricultural Water Compliance Dates: The FDA today issued a proposed rule that, if finalized, would extend the compliance dates for the agricultural water requirements by an additional two to four years (for produce other than sprouts).

For More Information:

WCFS is an FDA academic Center of Excellence in partnership with CFSAN. Researchers in WCFS assist FDA in fulfilling its public health mission and expand the science-base upon which future regulatory programs are developed. 

Michele Jay-Russell was quoted in a New York Post article about the Campylobacter outbreak associated with puppies sold by Petland stores. The multi-state outbreak currently includes 55 people with laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter infections who live in 12 states (Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and were exposed to puppies sold through Petland stores, according to a CDC report: Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Campylobacter Infections Linked to Contact with Pet Store Puppies.


eNewsletter, August 2017

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis

Go to:   Meetings   |  Outreach   |   Training


From left, Greg Goblick, Yaping Ao, Melissa Partyka, and Ronald Bond after finishing up a dye-tracer demonstration study in the California Delta.
FDA CFSAN Water Team Site Visit to WCFS | August 1-4, 2017, Davis, CA

Kruti RavaliyaChelsea DavidsonGregory Goblick, and Yaping Ao from CFSAN met with Rob AtwillMelissa Partyka, and Ronald Bond to discuss current research being conducted by the Atwill Lab as it relates to current regulatory policy for the testing of agricultural water supplies.  The group spent Tuesday touring agricultural areas and water purveyance systems in Yolo-Solano counties followed by discussion of the challenges in studying agricultural water quality.  Mr. Goblick and Ms. Ao, both engineers affiliated with the Shellfish and Aquaculture Policy Branch within the Office of Food Safety, are experienced in modeling the impact of contamination in coastal water supplies and have interest in collaborating with the Atwill lab in studying irrigation water supplies. The visit culminated in a demonstration of capabilities by the Atwill lab and the FDA through a brief dye-tracer experiment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with great success. The group is now moving forward with plans for an in-Depth collaboration during next year’s irrigation season.


Linda Harris, Postdoctoral Fellow Setareh Shiroodi and Adrian Sbodio from Trevor Suslow’s laboratory met with about 30 members of the California citrus packinghouse industry to discuss their research on preventing cross contamination in a citrus packinghouse. The meeting was organized by the California Citrus Quality Council and was held at the University of California ANR Lindcove Research and Extension Center near Exeter, CA.  The meeting included a discussion of research results, challenges faced by the packinghouse industry, and potential collaborative research projects.

Lambertini, E., J. Barouei, D. W. Schaffner, M. D. Danyluk, and L. J. Harris.  2017. Modeling the risk of salmonellosis from consumption of pistachios produced and consumed in the United States.  Food Microbiol.67:85-96.

•4 ± 0 log treatments reduced risk of salmonellosis from pistachios to <1 case/year.
•Risk of salmonellosis is greater for product derived from floaters than from sinkers.
•≥0.05% of untreated product volume yielded >1 case/year of salmonellosis.
•Salmonellosis risk decreased 10-fold when Salmonella storage decline was considered.

Abstract available here.
Updates to the water calculator tool to correct an odd calculation error
Mashiana, R. and L. J. Harris. August 28, 2017. Determining your microbiological water quality profile (MWQP) for untreated ground water used in the production of fresh produce, Version 4.0. (Excel spreadsheet–based tool.) Available at: http://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/files/239320.xlsx
Mashiana, R. and L. J. Harris. August 28, 2017. Determining your microbiological water quality profile (MWQP) for untreated surface water used in the production of fresh produce, Version 5.0. (Excel spreadsheet–based tool.) Available at: http://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/files/268306.xlsx 
Four chapters in the same book just came out in with WCFS authors 

Control of Salmonella and Other Bacterial Pathogens in Low Moisture Foods

Anderson, D., N. Anderson, L. J. Harris, and W. Ocasio. 2017. Validation requirements in heat-processed low-moisture foods, p. 149-173. In R. Podolak, and D. G. Black (eds.), Control of Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens in low moisture foods. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, DOI: 10.1002/9781119071051.ch7

Enache, E., R. Podolak, A. Kataoka, and L. J. Harris. 2017. Persistence of Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens in low-moisture foods, p. 67-86. In R. Podolak, and D. G. Black (eds.), Control of Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens in low moisture foods. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. DOI: 10.1002/9781119071051.ch4

Podolak, R., L. Lucore, and L. J. Harris. 2017. Heat resistance of Salmonellaand other bacterial pathogens in low-moisture foods, p. 121-148. In R. Podolak, and D. G. Black (eds.), Control of Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens in low moisture foods. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, DOI: 10.1002/9781119071051.ch6

Santillana Farakos, S. M., M. Danyluk, D. Schaffner, R. Pouillot, L. J. Harris, B. P. Marks. 2017. Modeling and statistical issues related to Salmonella in low water activity foods, p. 219-239. In R. Podolak, and D. G. Black (eds.), Control of Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens in low moisture foods. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, DOI: 10.1002/9781119071051.ch10
Proceedings of the 27th Vertebrate Pest Conference are now available

Contact the authors for a copy of the reprint

Navarro-Gonzalez, N., M. T. Jay-Russell. 2017. Use of falconry to deter nuisance birds in leafy greens fields in Northern California. Proceedings of the 27th Vertebrate Pest Conference pp. 209-216.
Abstract: Some species of birds form large flocks that forage on agricultural fields and frequently damage the crop, resulting in significant economic losses. Additionally, by defecating they potentially contaminate the crop and farm equipment with pathogens, which is of special concern for leafy greens that are consumed uncooked. There is a need to find an effective deterrent that is also environmentally friendly, and falconry is an ideal candidate for this purpose. To evaluate falconry as deterrent of nuisance birds in leafy greens field in northern California, we performed a set of trials on a control ranch and a treatment ranch of similar production and landscape characteristics. We identified avian species, counted individuals, and recorded flock size in daily surveys pre- treatment, during treatment (falconry), and post-treatment. Bird abundance was lower in spring than in fall, probably because many fields were fallow in spring. In both seasons, we observed a large daily variation in the bird abundance and their use of the fields in the surveys pre-treatment. In fall, the first trial was interfered by the activity of a falconer in an adjacent vineyard and the harvest of the grapes. Importantly, in the second trial, use of the field (e.g., foraging, etc.) decreased during five days of treatment and continued to be low for three days post-treatment, suggesting a “memory effect” after hazing by falconry. Interestingly, the third fall trial coincided with the end of the leafy greens growing season and showed that falconry successfully minimized use of the field by nuisance birds during peak activity. These results indicate that falconry is an effective measure to protect leafy green crops from fecal contamination and damage, but further research is needed at more farms in different regions, and the effect of using falconry in
combination with other non-lethal bird abatement approaches (e.g., audio-visual deterrents) should also be evaluated.

Rivadeneira, P., C. Hilson, A. Justice-Allen, M. Jay-Russell. 2017. Pathogen risks related to the movement of birds frequenting livestock and fresh produce growing areas in the Southwestern U.S. Proceedings of the 27th Vertebrate Pest Conference pp. 258-263.
Abstract: Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are sometimes located in close proximity to fresh produce fields, both of which serve as easily accessible food and water sources for wild birds. When birds travel between these two areas, they have the potential to transfer pathogens from cattle, a documented source of enteric zoonotic foodborne pathogens, to fresh produce crops through fecal deposition. However, the presence of pathogens in wild birds is not a risk unless the birds or their fecal material come into contact with fresh produce crops. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if birds visiting CAFOs use flyways that cross fresh produce fields, thereby increasing the risk for contaminating fresh produce intended for human consumption. During 2014, birds trapped at a CAFO in southern Arizona were fitted with Lotek nano-coded radiotransmitters. Two receivers were placed at the CAFO and two receivers were placed in nearby fresh produce fields. A total of 103 birds were fitted with radiotransmitters, including 66 red-winged blackbirds, 21 Eurasian collared doves, 11 brown-headed cowbirds, four common ravens, and one European starling. Over four million data points were collected indicating the date, time, and bird ID number for each time a bird was recorded within 1 km of a receiver. Radiotelemetry results showed that birds travel regularly between the CAFO and fresh produce fields. Using PCR and culture techniques, 2 (1.9%) birds tested positive for Salmonella, and 5 (4.9%) tested positive for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). During the same time period, Salmonella (4%), STEC O157 (16%), and non-O157 STEC (44.5%) were detected in 400 cattle fecal samples from the CAFO. Our results will aid in determining the pathogen risks that birds pose to fresh produce when they are frequent visitors to a CAFO and fresh produce fields.

Sellers,L., R. Long, R. A. Baldwin, M. Jay-Russell, X. Li, E. R. Atwill, R. M. Engeman. 2017. Impact of field border plantings on rodents and food safety concerns. Proceedings of the 27th Vertebrate Pest Conference pp. 264-267.
Abstract: This one-year study focused on the impact of hedgerows of native California plants on rodents and food safety in adjacent crops in the Sacramento Valley. Deer mice, house mice, California voles, and western harvest mice were live trapped in four different walnut orchards at zero, 10, 75, 175-m transects from hedgerows. The abundance and richness of rodents was compared to control sites with conventionally managed field edges that were mowed or sprayed for weed control. Unique rodent capture data showed two peaks in activity: 1) in the middle of the orchard regardless of field border type, and 2) in the hedgerow across all seasons with winter being the most active overall. Fewer captures were recorded in the conventional field border, likely because they lacked vegetative structure. Deer mice were the most prevalent species captured throughout the study (>96% of unique captures). House mice and California voles were almost always found in hedgerows and not in adjacent crops. Fecal samples from captured rodents showed a low prevalence of Escherichia coli (non-O157 STEC 1.4%, = 438; O157 STEC 0%, = 434) and Salmonella (0.92%, = 434). Giardia (28.6%, = 210) and Cryptosporidium (23.8%, = 210) were more prevalent in captured rodents, but the distribution was not affected by field-edge habitat.

Order the full Proceedings book at: https://marketplace.unl.edu/nemaps/books-and-publications/wildlife-damage-management-and-control/proceedings-of-the-vertebrate-pest-conference/proceedings-of-the-twenty-seventh-vertebrate-pest-conference-vpc-2016.html


eNewsletter, July 2017

WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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Welcome to our updated eNewsletter! We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either www.wcfs.ucdavis.edu or www.wifss.ucdavis.edu. Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis

Go to:   Meetings   |  Outreach   |   Training


Linda Harris, IAFP President welcoming attendees (top left); Laura Patterson receiving travel award (top right); poster presentations with Gordon Davidson and Chris Theofel (bottom left); Anne-laure Moyne (bottom right)
International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting | July 7-12, 2017, Tampa, FL
WCFS’ Linda Harris, Michele Jay-Russell, Melissa Partyka, Anne-laure Moyne, Ethan Morgan, Chris Theofel, Mahta Moussavi and Javad Barouei attended the Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).  Harris, as IAFP President, opened the 2017 meeting at the Tampa Convention Center.  She also presented a talk entitled Application of models in a processing plant:  Understanding the importance of validation, in a symposium on Modeling Pathogens in Low-water Activity Foods: What, How, and How to Use It (Session S44).  

Laura Patterson, graduate student in Epidemiology, was a recipient of the IAFP 2017 Student Travel Scholarship award. She is currently working with Alda Pires (UC Cooperative Extension) and Jay-Russell on a WCFS project evaluating waiting periods following the use of rotational grazing with sheep on mixed vegetable crop-livestock organic farms.

Technical oral presentations given (in session order):
Moussavi, M., C. Theofel, and L.J. Harris.  Thermal tolerance of foodborne pathogens on inoculated pistachios, (Abstract T1-01) 

Antaki, E., G. Mangalam, P. Aminabadi, F. A. Sebastião, E. Soto, B. Martínez López, F. Conte, S. Taber, M. Jay-Russell.  Assessment of zoonotic risks in aquaponic lettuce production: a prototype for experimental greenhouse trials. (Abstract T1-03)

Partyka, M.L., R.F. Bond, J.A. Chase, and E.R. Atwill.  Spatiotemporal Variability in Microbial Quality of Agricultural Water Supplies:  Implications for Cooperative Sampling, (Abstract T7-03)

Barouei, J., D.W. Schaffner, and L.J. Harris.  A quantitative risk model to assess postharvest parameters that impact the levels of Salmonella on pistachios, (Abstract T10-01)

Poster presentations by session:
Shiroodi, S.G, A.L. Moyne, and L.J. Harris. Efficacy of peracetic acid for inactivation of foodborne pathogens in imazalil fungicide solutions used in citrus packinghouses, (Abstract P3-77)
Theofel, C., T. Williams, E. Gutierrez, G. Davidson, M. Jay-Russell, and L.J. Harris. Transfer of microorganisms from a dairy calf operation to an adjacent pistachio orchard, (Abstract P3-61)
Lieberman, V., E.W. Morgan, and L.J. Harris.  Reduction of Escherichia coliO157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, or Salmonella on whole yellow onions (Allium cepa) exposed to hot water or diced onions exposed to lime juice, (Abstract P3-88)
Cobert, A., and L. J. Harris.  Evaluating the recovery of Salmonella from enriched inshell walnuts, (Abstract P3-55)
Navarro-Gonzalez, N., L. Patterson, P. Aminabadi, A. Pires, S. Micallef, R. Buchanan, M. Jay-Russell. 2017. Low prevalence of foodborne pathogens found in produce grown on diversified farms in California, (Abstract P3-51)

Patterson , L., N. Navarro-Gonzalez, P. Aminabadi, E. Antaki, M. Jay-Russell, A. Pires. 2017. Rotational grazing of sheep within organic crop fields: what is an ideal waiting period to minimize food safety risks? (Abstract P3-83)
Patterson, L, N. Navarro-Gonzalez, P. M. T. Jay-Russell , A Pires. 2017. Association between Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli prevalence and biosecurity measures on diversified California farms, (Abstract P2-65)
Laboratory and detection methods
Pinzon, J., K. Kayoshi, J. Roland, A. Sbodio, B. Groschel, W. Chaney, E. Dreyling, M. Jay-Russell, T. Suslow. 2017. Single Marker Detection and virulence gene profiling of STEC in produce and associated farmscape samples, (Abstract P2-195)
Moyne, A.L., L.A. Murphy, M.D. Cahn, S.T. Koike and L.J. Harris.  Microbial quality of tail water in the California Central Coast Salinas Valley, (Abstract P3-230)
Abstracts for all IAFP 2017 presentations may be found by name here or by session here.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Annual Convention | July 21-25, 2017, Indianapolis, IN
Michele Jay-Russell presented two invited talks on Sunday morning in the Public and Corporate Practice – Food Safety Veterinarians Continuing Education (CE) session at the annual AVMA convention. The session was sponsored by the American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians (AAFSPHV) and the National Association of Federal Veterinarians (NAFV). The presentations were entitled: Foodborne Pathogens in Wildlife and Microbiological Hazards of Wild Birds and Free-Range ChickensShe was also asked to give a short version of the second presentation at the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) – Public Health Committee, which holds their annual convention in conjunction with AVMA. She joined a lively discussion on potential foodborne pathogen risks related to the increasing free-ranging poultry, and recent multistate outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to live poultry in backyard flocks. 




Poster session:
For the first time, this year AVMA included a Poster CE Session. Jay-Russell presented a poster in the Research and Technology category in collaboration with UC Cooperative Extension and University of Delaware:

Jay-Russell, M., S. Biswas, P. Aminabadi, T. de Melo Ramos, P. Pandey, K. Kniel. 2017. Foodborne pathogen levels in bovine and avian raw manure: informing FDA's produce food safety risk assessment for biological soil amendments, (Abstract A-28).
View the complete program here.


First responders in Mt. Vernon, WA, AWR 328 course, strategize emergency response scenarios during table-top exercise.
All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters | July 19, 2017, Mt. Vernon, WA
On July 19 first responders from Washington state joined WIFSS in Mt. Vernon, WA, with the goal of streamlining response to emergencies involving pets and livestock. More than 20 professionals with widely diverse backgrounds participated, including firemen, sheriff and animal control officers, shelter and animal rescue volunteers, and emergency planers from county, state, and federal agencies. Michael Payne, Dairy Outreach Coordinator at WIFSS, was the instructor for the one-day class held at Skagit County’s Consolidated Communication Center.  The blended learning curriculum in WIFSS’s AWR 328: All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disastercourse starts with an intense self-study taken on-line and concludes with a full day of in-person, scenario-driven table top exercises. The next AWR 328 course is scheduled for October 7 in St. Paul, MN.


Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training | July 25-26, 2017, Fresno, CA
Linda Harris, together with Louise Ferguson and Bwalya Lungu from UC Davis, presented thePSA grower training to pistachio growers.  The training was funded by a grant from the Pistachio Research Board, and covers topics such as agricultural water, worker health and hygiene, soil amendments, wild and domesticated animals, land use, and safety plan development.

Opening day of Integrating One Health for Animal and Veterinary Sciences Conference
Integrating One Health for Animal and Veterinary Sciences Conference | July 31-August 18, 2017, Davis, CA
Students and faculty from Nanjing Agricultural University, and Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College, are attending the Integrating One Health for Animal and Veterinary Sciences Conference July 31 to August 18 at UC Davis. Participants will be introduced to current animal science and veterinary medical programs at UC Davis. The 3-week conference sponsored by WIFSS raises awareness of the One Health concept. Lectures, combined with field trips, and team-building discussions, help increase participant’s understanding of the interrelationship between people, animals, and the environment.


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.



eNewsletter, May 2017




FDA CFSAN Site Visit to WCFS

May 15-16, 2017
Davis, CA

FDAEric Olsen, Mickey Parish and Samir Assar from FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) met with Rob Atwill, Michele Jay-Russell, and Linda Harris and their respective staff and students to review WCFS projects. Cindy Lewis from FDA’s Produce Safety Network (PSN) Western Region (covering Alaska, California, Hawai’i, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Island) also joined the meeting.

WCFS was established in 2008 as a cooperative agreement to address the development of research approaches and data critical to high priority public health issues addressing FDA regulated fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. It is one of four FDA academic Centers of Excellence around the country formed to reduce foodborne illness and improve public health.




FDA CFSAN Tour of Almond and Walnut Facilities

May 17, 2017
Linden/Stockton/Modesto, CA


Mickey Parish and Samir Assar, accompanied by WCFS participants Linda Harris, Michele Jay-Russell, Anne-laure Moyne, Rupi Mashiana, and Erin DiCaprio, went on a tour of almond and walnut hullers and processors. They toured Prima Noce Packing in Linden, CA (walnut hulling and walnut packing) as well as Boersma Farms almond hulling/shelling facility (photo) and Blue Diamond almond processing facility in Salida. They were joined by representatives from the California Walnut Board, the DFA of California, the Almond Board of California and the Almond Alliance of California. They ended the day in Modesto at the Almond Board of California office and were joined by members of the pistachio industry and the Administrative Committee for Pistachios for a round table discussion on implementation of the Produce Safety and Preventive Controls Rules in the California tree nut industry.  






2017 Western Food Safety Summit
Day 1: FSMA Rules and Applied Food Safety Science Sessions 

May 3-4, 2017
Salinas, CA

Post Summit Survey-Risk Assessment Info

Melissa L. Partyka from the Atwill Lab presented at Hartnell College’s 2017 Western Food Safety Summit in Salinas, CA. The morning session was entitled “Water Quality- Sampling, Harvest”, where Melissa presented “Agricultural Water Quality Testing under FSMA: Where Do We Stand.” The afternoon portion was entitled, “Risk to Leafy Greens from Irrigation Mediated Transfer of Contaminated Feces Followed by Subsequent Die-Off: A Case Study”; this was based on research funded though FDA-CFSAN Risk Assessment Program.





WIFSS-NAU Lunch Time Challenge 

May 9, 2017
UC Davis

NAU Lunch Time Challenge

A video conference between WIFSS and Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) showcased presentations charting the final results of the 2017 UC Davis WIFSS-NAU Lunch Time Challenge. The Lunch Time Challenge was born out of the 2017 NAU – UC Davis Graduate Education Conference on One Health held at UC Davis, January 23 – February 10, 2017.

Discussion sessions and team projects at the 3-week conference raised awareness of how individuals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds can identify problems at the interface of people, animals and the environment, and find solutions to the problems.  Friendships forged through team projects continued upon the students’ return to China. Through the Lunch Time Challenge the Dragon Aggies, One Piece, and Green Shield continued working on problems they’d identified at the conference.

The teams met during 16 lunch times over the course of three months.  They researched data, held workshops, conducted surveys and got the word out on the street, and via the internet, about antibiotic resistance, air pollution, and dairy quality.

Bennie Osburn, Chris Brunner, and Jenny Chen participated in May 9 meeting in which the students reported their Lunch Time Challenge accomplishments. For example, the team, One Piece, encouraged people to ride share bicycles by promoting various ride-share apps on WeChat. They challenged people to pick a side between clean air and dirty air.





FSMA Water Quality Testing Workshops

May 9 and 11, 2017
Yakima and Wanatchee, WA

FSMA Water Quality Workshop

Melissa Partyka and Ronald Bond from the Atwill Lab conducted two 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. The workshops were attended by 30+ total participants in the Yakima region and 25+ 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 found the workshops were necessary and wanted them repeated according to pre and post surveys.




Microbial Challenge Testing for Foods 2017

May23-24, 2017
Chicago, IL

Kathy Glass and Don Schaffner

Linda Harris taught this workshop with colleagues Kathy Glass (University of Wisconsin) and Don Schaffner (Rutgers University).  Harris’ presentations were entitled “Pathogens of concern” and “Sampling intervals and test conditions”.  This is the eighth time this course has been offered by these presenters in collaboration with the International Association for Food Protection, and it has sold out every year.







Good Fruit Grower Magazine

May 10, 2017
UC Davis

Food Safety Answers: What’s in your water?-Videos

Good Fruit Grower Magazine produced a series of YouTube videos based on water sampling demonstrations at the FSMA Water Quality Workshops in Central Washington State. The videos (below) feature Ronald F. Bond and Melissa L. Partyka from WCFS Atwill Lab.


FSMA Water Sampling 101: Irrigation Canal Water


FSMA Water Sampling 101: Piped Water Samping


FSMA Water Sampling 101: Pond Assessment






Chase, J. A., Atwill, E. R., Partyka, M. L., Bond, R. F., & Oryang, D. (2017). Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on Romaine Lettuce When Inoculated in a Fecal Slurry Matrix. J Food Prot, 80(5), 792-798. doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-307.

A field trial was conducted to quantify the inactivation rate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 when mixed with fecal slurry and applied to romaine lettuce leaves. The findings can help generate inactivation times following a potential contamination incident and provide insight into the survival of E. coli O157:H7 transferred via splash from a contaminated fecal source onto produce during irrigation. The abstract is available here.



eNewsletter, April 2017




Soil Summit 2017

March 28-29, 2017
Geneva, NY

Produce Safety Alliance

Michele Jay-Russell and Alda Pires attended the Soil Summit hosted by the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) and the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University. The Soil Summit brought together the farming community, compost and soil experts, extension educators, industry members, and state and federal regulators to discuss the challenges and benefits of using raw manure and compost on fruit and vegetable farms. Soil amendments such as raw manure and compost have a double-edged sword. They offer clear benefits to agricultural production, nutrient management, and plant health, but if they are not handled properly, they can pose potential environmental and food safety risks. During the day and a half long meeting, an open dialogue through the use of break-out sessions offered meeting attendees a platform to discuss a variety of topics including current uses of raw manure, challenges to proper composting and handling raw manure, compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, and resources, education, and funding necessary to overcome identified barriers.

On May 4, 2017, the Produce Safety Alliance staff as well as David Ingram, Consumer Officer with the FDA Division of Produce Safety, will provide their insight into the key outcomes and learnings from the meeting and highlight identified educational needs and next steps in discussion of the challenges associated with soil amendment use of produce farms. The meeting is open to the public, no registration is necessary. The meeting will be recorded and posted on the PSA website and NECAFS website within one week if you are unable to attend.


Upcoming Meeting Information

What: Produce Safety Educator & NECAFS Monthly Meeting
When: Thursday, May 4, 2017 – 1:30-2:30 pm
Meeting Info: Join the meeting
Registration: Open to all - no registration required
Recording available after the call at: The PSA website and the NECAFS website






Ranch Readiness Day

April 30, 2017
Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Event Center


Michael PayneDairy Outreach Coordinator with WIFSS, and a volunteer firefighter for the Vacaville Fire Protection District, spoke about Saving the Ranch: Behind the Fireline in Real Time, at Ranch Readiness Day in Sonoma, on April 30. The event is committed to helping families, farmers and ranchers, and the animals they love and depend upon, to be prepared for emergencies. It featured internationally-known speakers and informative demonstrations. Ranch Readiness Day connects first responders with the resources they need to provide safe and humane services when animals are involved.







All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters

March 30, 2017
Highland Heights, KY


The AWR 328 awareness level course in All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters was held in Highland Heights, KY. Thirty-two people, representing Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio emergency management associations, animal control, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, rural community emergency managers, and Kentucky Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation (CART), attended the AWR 328 the one-day class. Tracey Stevens, an animals in disaster instructor with WIFSS, was the course instructor, where participants showed their leadership skills in table top exercises related to the protection, response, and recovery from the consequences of disasters (e.g. fire, flood, heat, earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes, hazardous materials and catastrophic disease exposure) involving animals in rural communities.  





Animal Nutrition Class

April 17, 2017
Rocklin, CA

Sierra College

While having national recognition, WIFSS is always looking for collaborations with local community colleges. On April 17th Michael Payne was invited to address animal nutrition students at Sierra College located in Rocklin. Covering veterinary perspectives of animal care and public health, the three hours of lectures used videos and animation to cover farm evaluations, antimicrobial drug resistance, case studies in feed toxicology and even “Mad Cow Disease.” Besides providing background reading references, Payne also helped arrange other speakers as well as access to WIFSS on-line training courses














Global Food Security Course

April 18, 2017
Philadelphia, PA

WorldUndergraduate and post-graduate students from across the University of Pennsylvania campus, including the Wharton School and Penn Vet School, were in attendance at the lecture presented by Bennie Osburn for the course on Global Food Security. Osburn lectured, via Skype, on the subject, “One Health Education: A Novel Approach to Food Safety.”

Total enrollment for the University of Pennsylvania Global Food Security course is 173. The interdisciplinary course, taught in collaboration with Penn’s Department of Anthropology, discusses the complex subject of the diverse livestock production systems and the potential role veterinary medicine plays in food security.

Osburn talked about the big problem of foodborne diseases as the cause of 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths a year, and taking a One Health approach which includes raising awareness of the problems of food safety from farm to fork; multidisciplinary team work, and taking action, as a solution to the problem.














Introduction to One Health Course

April 17 & 19, 2017
Seattle, WA

Seattle One Health Intro

Michele Jay-Russell was invited to speak as a guest lecturer on the topic “The Gut— Microbiome and Foodborne Disease” at the School of Public Health, University of Washington. Course leaders were Peter Rabinowitz, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Pubic Health, and director of the Center for One Health Research, and and Marguerite Pappaioanou, an Affiliate Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and former WIFSS board member. Approximately 40 graduate and undergraduate students learned about the role of the microbiome (and the gut biome) in human and animal health, and a One Health approach to ensure food safety. Students worked in groups on a Case Study to identify human, animal, and environmental approaches to investigate a multistate foodborne outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to contaminated leafy greens.














WIFSS Food Safety and Livestock Health Training

April 17-19, 2017
Davis, CA

Clare and Livestock Training

María Uxúa Alonso-Fresán and Valente Velázquez Ordoñez from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) came to WIFSS for a 3-day training on food safety and livestock health. Rob Atwill presented WIFSS’ recent research on the epidemiology of Cryptosporidium in livestock and wild rodents in California. Atwill also talked about strategies for control Cryptosporidium, E. coli O157:H7, and other foodborne pathogens in livestock and produce fields. Topics of the training program included:

  • Epidemiology and genotyping of Cryptosporidium in livestock and wild rodents
  • Diagnostics of Cryptosporidium from livestock and wildlife
  • DNA extraction and PCR for Cryptosporidium DNA sequence fingerprinting
  • Membrane filtration and ultrafiltration for detection indicator and pathogenic bacteria
  • Approaches for qualitative and quantitative detection of E. coli O157:H7

Ronny Bond demonstrated water filtration for detection of Cryptosporidium and other pathogens. Tran Nguyen demonstrated fluorescence microscopy for detection of Cryptosporidium and Xiaohong Wei demonstrated methods for DNA extraction and PCR for genotyping Cryptosporidium. Jennifer Chase discussed methods for quantitation of E. coli O157 from livestock, produce and other samples.

Alonso-Fresán is the Animal Health Group leader with the Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia of UAEM. Valente Velázquez Ordoñez is faculty in veterinary medicine and zoonotic diseases from the Centro De Diagnostico En Salud Animal (Center of Diagnostics in Animal Health) with interest in cattle health. Currently Alonso-Fresán, Atwill, and Li have a UC MEXUS – CONACYT proposal pending to study seasonal subtropical highland climate changes on cattle health in Central Mexico using Cryptosporidium as a biomarker.