WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety


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.














eNewsletter, March 2017




Northern California ASM Meeting

March 3-4, 2017
Pleasanton, CA

Elizabeth Antaki

What’s the risk of Salmonella in a recirculating aquaponics system? Elizabeth Antaki could give you the answer in just 3 minutes, using just one PowerPoint slide, which is what she did at the 34th Annual Northern California American Society for Microbiology (NCASM) meeting. This year’s meeting was titled, “Microbes v. Humans. Who’s in Control?”

During her talk, "Recirculating aquaponic systems and Salmonella: Is there a risk?" Antaki described the construction and experimental trials taking place in the fish pathology shelter at the Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture facility on the UC Davis campus.

Antaki , a post-doctoral scholar in Michele Jay-Russell’s lab with the Western Center for Food Safety (WCFS), is currently studying the food safety aspects of leafy greens grown in recirculating aquaponic systems (RAS), particularly with regards to pathogen retention and produce contamination.








Annual Walnut Production Meeting 

March 1, 2017
Sacramento-Solano-Yolo Counties, CA

Melissa Partyka Woodland

Melissa L. Partyka and Ronald F. Bond, WCFS researchers, are working on getting the word out about the FSMA agricultural water quality regulations likely to impact Yolo County growers. Melissa spoke at the annual walnut growers production meeting on March 1st at the University of California, Cooperative Extension Center in Woodland, CA. Partyka, a staff ecologist, and Bond, a water quality researcher, both with the Atwill Water and Foodborne Zoonotic Disease Laboratory within WCFS, will be heading up a half-day workshop for growers and industry representatives this summer. Stay tuned for dates and registration details! 





Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission Visit

March 1-3, 2017
WCFS-UC Davis Research Facilities

Melissa Partyka and Robert Atwill

The Western Center for Food Safety hosted the Commissioners of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and Washington State University faculty on the UC Davis campus. The board was established to “promote and carry on research and administer specific industry service programs,… which will or may benefit the planting, production, harvesting, handling, processing or shipment of tree fruit of the State of Washington.” During the three day visit board members were given current WCFS research presentations and laboratory demonstrations. Rob Atwill and Melissa Partyka, presented current FSMA related water quality research happening in Washington State and Ronald Bond and Jennifer Chase led laboratory tours of Vet Med 3B. Ines Hanrahan, a WCFS collaborator, and project manager with the commission put the visit together. 














Water Quality Workshops for California Nut Growers


California tree nut growers will soon have to comply with new agriculture water testing requirements under the Produce Safety Rule in the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  UC Davis researchers and advisors are holding seminars to share information about the agricultural water requirements and proper water sampling methods in order to be in compliance with the regulations.

Melissa L. Partyka and Ronald F. Bond are engaging local growers on issues of food safety and helping to educate them on not only the regulations but on ways to improve their water quality. 

A full day workshop to be hosted by UC Cooperative Extension is planned for late June. Look for announcement of date, time, and location on the following websites: WCFS, UCANR, WIFSS.

Read the complete story here.














Produce Safety Alliance Train the Trainer Course

March 14, 2017
Sacramento, CA

The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Train the Trainer course was offered this month in Sacramento for individuals wishing to become trainers, able to offer the PSA standardized curriculum to train growers to meet the regulatory requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. Michele Jay-Russell attended the course, and Linda Harris was an instructor. More information about the curriculum, as well as dates for future course offerings, is available here. 














New Disaster Preparedness Course from WIFSS

March 4, 2017
Santa Rosa, CA

AWR-328 Class

AWR 328 All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters got off the ground in Santa Rosa on March 4th, with a second delivery following in Superior, WI, on March 16. The awareness level course provides first responders with the tools to protect, respond to, and recover from consequences of disasters involving animals in rural communities. Tracey Stevens an animals in disaster instructor with WIFSS was instructor for the 8-hour, on-site portion of the course. Prior to attending the class in Sonoma, participants completed a 4-hour web-based learning session. The instructor-led portion consisted of table-top problem-solving activities that are based on the web-based content. Read full story here














Pipeline for Ag-based STEM careers

March 8, 2017
UC Davis


To meet our nation’s need for a safe and productive food system, WIFSS is proposing a way to build a pipeline for underrepresented groups to enter agriculture based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Heather Johnson, an instructional systems designer with WIFSS, made a 10 minute pitch to representatives from the Office of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, Campus Council on Community and Diversity, Office of Campus Community Relations, and the Staff Diversity Administrative Advisory Committee, for a Diversity and Inclusion (DI) Innovation Grant.

The proposal can provide opportunities to underrepresented groups to attend UC Davis, thereby meeting campus’s 2020 goals of diversity and inclusion. Additionally, this pathway offers underrepresented students a means of attaining higher education and lifelong success. We aim to accomplish this by gathering data and input from California high school agriculture teachers and hosting a working session on gaps and barriers for students in agricultural STEM fields. The information gathered from teachers will lead to the design of teacher Professional Development Workshops and a California One Health High School Student Conference.
















FDA Considering Simplifying Agricultural Water Standards

March 20, 2017

Water Sampling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is exploring ways to simplify the microbial quality and testing requirements for agricultural water established by the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA’s) produce safety rule while still protecting public health. Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. That is why FSMA’s produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce.

However, the feedback that the FDA has received is that some of these standards, which include numerical criteria for pre-harvest microbial water quality, may be too complex to understand, translate, and implement. These factors can be important to achieving high rates of compliance. In response to these concerns, the FDA is considering how it might simplify the water standards.  FDA intends to work with stakeholders as these efforts related to the water standards proceed.

It is important that as FDA implements FSMA, the agency strikes an appropriate regulatory balance and decreases regulatory burdens whenever appropriate. FDA remains committed to protecting public health while implementing rules that are workable across the diversity of the food industry.













eNewsletter, February 2017




NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference for One Health 

January 23 - February 23, 2017
UC Davis

NAU Conference

WIFSS hosted the NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference on One Health for Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) undergraduate students, January 23 – February 10. Nineteen NAU graduate students also participated in the conference, January 22-24. The conference focused on graduate education, and highlighted One Health.

Members of the WIFSS team participating in the conference included, Bennie Osburn who welcomed the students on opening day and shared opportunities for graduate education at UC Davis. Gregory Wlasiuk gave an overview of the Davis community, and he and Sara Garcia advised the students on procedures for applying to graduate school. Heather Johnson presented information about project-based learning for food safety. Xunde Li lectured on studies of antibiotic resistance in dairy farms in California, and Michael Payne discussed dairy food safety and antibiotic use. The students learned how to identify potential risk factors on a produce operation in David Goldenberg’s presentation. Emily Kunz provided tips for building videos for marketing One Health.

Group leaders Amanda Arens, David Goldenberg, and Heather Johnson, fostered a spirit of team work as the students progressed toward their closing-day presentations, which included descriptions of their chosen food safety or environmental problem, the short and long term solutions to the problem, and their vision of what it looks like when the problem is solved. Bennie Osburn, Chris Brunner and Jenny Chen were the conference coordinators.

WIFSS-NAU Water Sampling Video


Adding to the success of the conference were Elizabeth Antaki, Ronald Bond, and Melissa Partyka from the Western Center for Food Safety. Ronald and Melissa talked to the students about why and how we test irrigation water prior to taking the group on a field trip to take water samples at Putah Creek, and returning to the lab to test water samples. Elizabeth reviewed the work taking place in experimental greenhouse trials assessing the zoonotic risks in aquaponic lettuce production. 





Technical Forum on Produce Safety for FDA Funded Researchers

February 8-9, 2017
Greenbelt, MD


Faculty and staff from WCFS participated in a forum hosted by the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) for research scientists who have received funding from FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) to present findings from their studies on fresh produce. In addition to the research scientists funded by CFSAN, the meeting was attended by FDA risk analysts, scientists, and technical experts. Talks presented by WCFS researchers included:

Prevalence and levels of Salmonella in poultry litter and E. coli O157:H7 and STEC in cattle manure on the West Coast (CA and AZ), East Coast (DE) and Florida (Michele Jay-Russell, Peiman Aminabadi, and Kalmia Kniel, Univ. of Delaware)

Survival dynamics of generic E. coli in animal feces (poultry, cattle, horse, goat) and in soil in vegetable fields (Michele Jay-Russell)

Irrigation mediated transfer of E. coli O157:H7 from feces to lettuce (Robert Atwill and Jennifer Chase)

Irrigation mediated transfer of generic E. coli from feces to lettuce (Michele Jay-Russell)

Survival dynamics of pathogens on lettuce, cilantro, and basil (Linda Harris)

Survival of E. coli O157:H7 in fecal slurry, on lettuce (Robert Atwill and Jennifer Chase)




UAEM Meeting

February 21-23, 2017
Toluca, Mexico

On invitation from Dr. M. U. Alonso-Fresán, who is the Animal Health Group leader with the Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Xunde Li addressed professors and students about Cryptosporidium research relevant for the Mexican livestock sector. During his February 21-23 visit at UAEM, he lectured on, An introduction of public health significance and diagnostics of Cryptosporidium, and the Prevalence, genotypes, and risk factors of Cryptosporidium in livestock, wildlife, and humans.






Annual Almond Production Meeting

February 7, 2017
Sacramento-Solano-Yolo Counties, CA

Melissa Partyka Woodland

Melissa L. Partyka and Ronald F. Bond, WCFS researchers, are working on getting the word out about the FSMA agricultural water quality regulations likely to impact Yolo County growers. Melissa spoke at the annual almond growers production meeting on Feb 7th at the University of California, Cooperative Extension Center in Woodland, CA. Partyka, a staff ecologist, and Bond, a water quality researcher, both with the Atwill Water and Foodborne Zoonotic Disease Laboratory within WCFS, will be heading up a half-day workshop for growers and industry representatives this summer. Stay tuned for dates and registration details! 













Water Sampling and Processing Training

February 7-10, 2017
UC Davis Campus

Trent Fuller Video

Ronald Bond and the Atwill Lab hosted Trent Fuller from Legacy Fruit Packers of Wapato, Washington, to learn techniques for sampling irrigation ponds and canals followed by microbiological analysis using USEPA Method 1603 and IDEXX Colilert. Trent is one of many industry members that have reached out to WCFS researches for support in the creation of in-house laboratories to process water samples for FSMA compliance. 













Public Health Microbiologist Training Program

February 22, 2017
Richmond, CA

Michele and Linda

Michele Jay-Russell was invited by Linda Guthertz, Trainer, Office of the State Laboratory Director, California Department of Public Health, to give a lecture to the certification class.  The title of Michele’s talk was Detection and Characterization of Campylobacter: Laboratory and Public Health Challenges. More information about certification in Public Health Microbiology can be found here












eNewsletter, January 2017




NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference for One Health 

January 23 - February 23, 2017
Davis, CA

NAU Conference

The 2017 NAU-UC Davis Graduate Education Conference for One Health is underway at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. During the three week conference, sponsored by WIFSS, undergraduate students from NAU will learn about graduate education opportunities, engage in learning experiences involving plant and animal sciences, food safety and One Health, and visit a California dairy, the Veterinary Medical and Teaching Center in Tulare, and have a hands-on experience in water sampling techniques. Joining the undergraduate students, on January 23 and 24, were 19 NAU graduate students. The combined group had the opportunity to spend one day attending informative lectures and touring greenhouse facilities, sponsored by Plant and Environmental Sciences. 




2017 AAFCO Midyear Meeting 

January 15-18, 2017
Mobile, AL

Amanda Arens, Bennie Osburn, Michael Payne, and Heather Johnson from WIFSS attended the Association of American Feed Control Officials midyear meeting in Mobile, Alabama, in mid-January. Arens led the team in presenting the new on-line “Animal Classification” course recently completed by the curriculum development department at WIFSS. The presentation was made during the education and training committee meeting. This course was developed as part of an FDA funded project and is available immediately, at no cost, to states or others who would like to use it. While at the AAFCO meeting, Arens, Osburn, Payne and Johnson also participated in discussions on the further development of training materials that would help states meet the new training standards set forth by FDA. 







FSMA Microbial Water Quality Workshops

Melissa and Jennifer

The Atwill Laboratory staff at WCFS would like to announce that they are planning another round of workshops discussing water sampling and environmental assessments in collaboration with our partners in Washington. These workshops will include:

Aseptic Water Sampling
Environmental Assessments
Water Quality Profiles
Testing Methodologies
and more…

They are beginning to meet with cooperative extension agents across the US in order to build agricultural community support for additional workshops like those offered in Washington.

Are you a grower group, irrigation district or agricultural stakeholder interested in learning more about water sampling and FSMA compliance?  Please contact: Ronald F. Bond or Melissa L. Partyka at-atwilllab@gmail.com, for more information or to request a workshop near you!.















2017 FSMA Cooperative Sampling Project


Staff members in the Atwill Laboratory at WCFS have been gearing up for the 2017 irrigation season by meeting with irrigation districts, growers and producers, and academic collaborators. To date, they have three irrigation districts in California and three in Washington State. They are currently in the next phase of the projects, which is to get grower participation from each district in order to fulfill a top-down cooperative sampling approach to their research. Data sharing is a potentially important part of FSMA and our 2017 research should help growers start that process.

They are always on the lookout for additional collaborators at either the district or the grower level; please email them at atwilllab@gmail.com if you are interested in participating in their research.














Salmonella in free-ranging marine reptiles a potential public health risk

Researchers and Sea Turtles

Researchers studying the nesting and foraging populations of sea turtles in the Caribbean have found different Salmonella serovars in free-ranging wildlife.  Information conducted on sea turtles provides a better understanding of the epizootiology of Salmonella in free-ranging marine reptiles and potential public health risks associated with human interactions with these animals in the Caribbean. 

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Western Center for Food Safety researchers Esteban Soto, Michele Jay-Russell and Elizabeth Antaki joined scientists from Ross University, Louisiana State University, and Mississippi State University, published their work in Zoonoses and Public Health. This work was supported by the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health.

Photo by Leonardo King 2015 shows SKSTMN-In-Water team working up juveniles. 

















A.-K. Ives, E. Antaki, K. Stewart, S. Francis, M. T. Jay-Russell, F. Sithole, M. T. Kearney, M. J. Griffin, E. Soto.  2016. Detection of Salmonella enterica Serovar Montevideo and Newport in Free-ranging Sea Turtles and Beach Sand in the Caribbean and Persistence in Sand and Seawater Microcosms. Zoonoses and Public Health DOI: 10.1111/zph.12324

From the summary: “The main objective of this project was to estimate the prevalence of non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica in the nesting and foraging populations of sea turtles on St. Kitts and in sand from known nesting beaches. Results suggest a higher prevalence of Salmonella in nesting leatherback sea turtles compared with foraging green and hawksbill sea turtles….  To determine the persistence of representative strains of each serotype/genotype in these environments, laboratory-controlled microcosm studies were performed in water and sand (dry and wet) incubated at 25 or 35°C. Isolates persisted for at least 32 days in most microcosms, although there were significant decreases in culturable bacteria in several microcosms, with the greatest reduction in dry sand incubated at 35°C. “ The complete summary is available here.



eNewsletter, December 2016

Happy Holidays 2016





Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease 

December 4, 2016
Chicago, IL

Alda Pires

Alda Pires presented a poster at the 97th Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease  (CRWAD), co-authored by Michele Jay-Russell, entitled “The use of biological soil amendments of animal origin in organic agriculture and food safety risks.”  The objective of the study is to assess current practices used by the organic industry related to manure and compost use to identify potential food safety risks related to microbial contamination and potential threats to the public health. A nationwide survey was conducted, focused on the use of animal-based soil amendments (BSAs) and food safety risks in organic farms. Findings from the survey will provide a framework for microbial risk mitigation strategies for raw manure used in organic and sustainable agriculture. You can see the poster here.

This work was supported by a planning grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). 




WSTFA Annual Meeting and Horticultural Expo 

December 5-7, 2016
Wenatchee, WA

Melissa Partyka and Ronald Bond attended the Washington State Tree Fruit Association Annual Meeting and Horticultural Expo held in Wenatchee, Washington, December 5-7. Melissa was invited to give a talk on the first steps growers must take to begin water sampling entitled “Agricultural Water Testing Under FSMA: Where to start” as part of the food safety session proctored by Ines Hanrahan of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. Melissa also participated in two panel discussions; the first, which focused on issues of water sampling compliance, included Justin Harter, Manager of the Naches Selah Irrigation District, Trent Fuller, HR Director for Legacy Fruit Packers LLC, and Marc Verhougstreate, Asst. Prof at University of Arizona. The second panel, entitled “The Year Ahead: More Fun to Come”, allowed Melissa to talk about some of the research being conducted by WIFSS and the Western Center currently, and research that is being proposed for the coming years. That panel also included Northwest Horticultural Council Vice President Kate Woods, Jacqui Gordon, the Director of Education at WSTFA, Claudia Coles from the WSDA Food Safety and Consumer Services division. The session was well attended with a mix of growers, packers, regulators, researchers, and irrigators. 


Melissa Partyka Presenting
Melissa Partyka Speaking



UK Science and Innovation Network 

December 7, 2016

UK Science and Innovation Network

Michele Jay-Russell and Bennie Osburn met with Stefania Di Mauro-Nava, Science & Innovation Officer with UK Science and Innovation Network, based at the British Consulate General, San Francisco, and Dora Meredith, Europe and Global Portfolio Manager at Innovate UK, to discuss work on food safety, food security and resource sustainability, and explore potential opportunities for collaboration.

Innovate UK is the United Kingdom’s national innovation funding agency, and currently sponsors programs like the UK’s Agritech Catalyst. During the December 7 meeting Jay-Russell shared innovative research projects currently underway at WCFS. Osburn outlined research and training initiatives at WIFSS that are raising awareness and educating food producers and processors, regulators, and consumers about food safety and food security.  






Liaoning Province

November 28, 2016

Chinese government regulators visited WIFSS to get an update on U.S.regulations for produce food safety and antibiotic use in livestock. The delegates from Liaoning Province are involved in food inspection, testing and quality control and were interested in learning about the mission of the WIFSS and the University of California, Davis to provide healthy food for the people of the United States and the world.

Their chaperones included Maynard Skinner, former Assistant Vice Chancellor and former Mayor of Davis, and Bill Ritter, Program Coordinator for Maynard Skinner and Associates. 






Liaoning Delegation







New WIFSS Management Course for Food and Animal Related Disasters

November 29, 2016

WIFSS Management Course Group

Amanda Arens, Program Manager for Outreach and Training at WIFSS, and Holly Powers, Solano County Emergency Services Assistant Manager, were instructors of a pilot course for MGT 448 All Hazards Planning for Animal, Agricultural, and Food Related Disasters Management.  Students attending the course held in late November included representatives from California Office of Emergency Services, California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps, livestock industry, and WIFSS team members Heather Johnson, Mike Payne, David Goldenberg, Jessica Cadriel and Bennie Osburn.

The management level course which provides the background information needed to lead a multi-agency team of emergency planners for food and/or animal related disasters will be available for delivery in 2017.














President, Jiangsu Agro-animal Husbandry Vocational College

November 30, 2016
UC Davis

Jiangsu Delegation


President Zhendong He, Jiangsu Agro-animal Husbandry Vocational College, and fellow administrators, Yushu Huang, Aiguo Jin, Fuguo Wang, Haiyan Dong, and Qin Wang, visited UC Davis to further develop training programs for their faculty and students in the area of food safety.  In addition to food safety, they have interests in livestock production, agronomy and post-harvest technology. Following meetings on campus, the group toured the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.















Swedish Defense University and Swedish Board of Agriculture

December 12-15, 2016
UC Davis 

Swedish Delegation

Representatives from the Swedish Defense University, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and the Security Department at the National Veterinary Institute, met with WIFSS personnel in December to discuss training programs for food defense and agroterrorism.  Bennie Osburn, David Goldenberg, Heather Johnson and Michael Payne shared their expertise with the Swedish delegation about programs developed at WIFSS for training first responders about potential effects of an agricultural emergency and the important structure for organizing the recovery from an incident of agroterrorism or food systems disaster. They also discussed unique issues to be considered and addressed when animals are involved in an emergency, such as safe animal handling, animal evacuation, and animal sheltering. WIFSS and the Swedish delegation look forward to future collaboration.















Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)

December 13, 2016

CAAS Delegation

Researchers and directors from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) were members of a training delegation to USA on development and management of world class agricultural research centers.  Bennie Osburn, Director for Outreach and Training at WIFSS, talked with the delegation about potential ways collaborative research and training programs could be used to train graduate students at their university.
















Good Fruit Grower Spanish Language Website

Ronnie Bond Sampling Water

Ronald Bond, Melissa Partyka and Jennifer Chase were featured in the Good Fruit Grower Magazine Spanish language website-Good Fruit Grower in  Español. It highlighted an article entitled “Muestreo de agua en pasos simples”. Editors for the Good Fruit Grower Magazine chose to translate articles that would serve to inform Spanish speaks on “in-depth articles and current research trends in horticulture.” This article, featuring WCFS staff, helps to clarify water sampling for FSMA compliance, the article was written by Shannon Dininny and is accompanied by photos from TJ Mullinax and were based on interviews held during the agricultural water quality workshops conducted in May through Central Washington State. 














In the Media (YouTube)

Melissa Partyka Youtube

Good Fruit Grower Magazine produce a video of Melissa Partyka- “Growers need to develop water safety management plan - 2016 Hort Show” in which she discusses upcoming water quality standards and the aspects of developing water quality profiles and environmental assessments under FSMA. The video was produce by TJ Mullinax of Good Fruit Grower Magazine. 














Better Process Control School

February 14-17, 2017
Davis, CA 

The Better Process Control School (BPCS) was established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for operating supervisors of commercial food canning operations. The UC Davis BPCS is offered in conjunction with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and is available both “In-Person” from Feb. 14-17, 2017, and OnlineLinda Harris will present “Microbiology of thermally processed foods,” “Food container Handling”, “Records for product protection” and “Food plant sanitation” at the In-Person BPCS on days 1 and 2. Erin DiCaprio , UC Davis Food Science & Technology, will present “Acidified foods” on Day 1. The agenda for the full 4-day course may be found here.

















Kilonzo, C., X. Li, T. Vodoz, C. Xiao, J. A. Chase, M. T. Jay-Russell, E. J. Vivas, and E. R. Atwill. 2017. Quantitative shedding of multiple genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia by deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in a major agricultural region in the California Central Coast. J. Food Protect. Accepted for publication. 

Abstract: Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are abundant and widely distributed rodent species in North America that occupy diverse habitats including agricultural landscapes. Giardia and Cryptosporidium are common parasites in wildlife, including deer mice, which may play a role in on-farm contamination of produce. An important step in assessing the risk of produce contamination by Cryptosporidium and Giardia shed by deer mice is to determine the prevalence, concentration and genotypes of (oo)cysts in their feces. A total of 63 (30.3 %) and 53 (25.5 %) of 208 deer mice trapped in 12 farms in California Central Coast were positive for Cryptosporidium and Giardia, respectively. Of these mice, 41 (19.7%) contained both parasites. The odds of Cryptosporidium shedding were 2.5 to 5 times higher in mice trapped in autumn months than those in summer or spring. Female mice had a higher prevalence and a two to three-fold higher intensity of shedding of Cryptosporidium and Giardia compared to males. Female adults and female juveniles had the highest rates of environmental loading of Cryptosporidium and Giardia, respectively. We estimate that 20 infected deer mice inhabiting a hectare of typical leafy green produce farm in the study region can load each day approximately 5.3×108 Cryptosporidium and 10.5×108 Giardia, respectively, into the environment. The small-subunit rRNA gene loci from a subset of protozoan isolates were sequenced and compared to existing sequences in the GenBank. Multiple genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia were found and BLAST analyses results suggest that Giardia and the majority of Cryptosporidium genotypes in deer mice circulate within populations of rodent species but a portion of Cryptosporidium isolates possess zoonotic potential. 



eNewsletter, November 2016




Latin Food 2016 

November 9-11, 2016
Cancun, Mexico

Latin Food 2016Linda Harris attended the International Association for Food Protection’s 5th Latin America Symposium on Food Safety and 7th Food Science, Biotechnology and Safety meeting, where she gave a closing lecture on the topic Global Trends in Food Safety. The Mexican Association for Food Protection and the Mexican Association for Food Science jointly organized this meeting, which included over 700 oral and poster presentations and nearly 1000 attendees. The program is available here. The book of abstracts may be downloaded from the website.




Food Safety and Sanitation Workshop 

November 8-9, 2016
Portland, OR

Melissa in PortlandMelissa Partyka and Ronald Bond attended the 36th Annual Food Safety and Sanitation Workshop, organized by Washington State University Extension.  Melissa Partyka gave two advanced workshops on water sampling titled, Agricultural Water Quality Testing Under FSMA: Getting there from here. The annual workshop addresses basic sanitation as well as cutting edge issues related to food sanitation and food safety. The audience was made up of a diversity of professionals from regulatory, academic, and produce production backgrounds.






Agroterrorism and Food Systems Disaster Training Courses

November 15-16, 2016
Mather, CA

First Responders MeetingFirst responders from across the state of California from San Diego to Sutter counties attended two days of training outlining the potential effects of an agricultural emergency and the important structure for organizing the recovery from an incident of agroterrorism or food systems disaster.

David Goldenberg, a food safety and security training coordinator with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) taught the courses held at the California Office of Emergency Services. Goldenberg’s training included active discussions and table top exercises for the Department of Homeland Security courses AWR 154, Principles of National Incident Management Systems (NIMS); AWR 155, Principles of Frontline Response to Agroterrorism and Food System Disasters; and AWR 156, Principles of Planning and Implementing Recovery.

A maximum turnout of 40 participants marked the final delivery of these three courses. The courses are being phased out to make room for two new courses instructing first responders on preparation and planning for successful disaster response teams. AWR 328, All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters, and MGT 448, All Hazards Planning for Animal, Agricultural, and Food Related Disasters, will discuss unique issues to be considered and addressed when animals are involved in an emergency, such as safe animal handling, animal evacuation, and animal sheltering. 














Third Annual UC Davis One Health Symposium

November 5, 2016
UC Davis

Climate Change and Our Food Supply

WIFSS’ Bennie Osburn was a panel member at the third annual One Health symposium on “Collaboration in the Face of a Changing Environment,” held on the UC Davis campus on November 5. Osburn’s presentation on climate change and our food supply emphasized the need for taking a One Health approach to finding solutions to the changing climate and its impact on food safety and security. He described three problems of changing weather, rising temperatures, and increased disasters, and the corresponding actions WIFSS is taking to address these problems. WIFSS is raising awareness internationally by educating students and faculty from universities and vocational colleges. It holds preparedness training to help businesses to continue to operate during crises, and it conducts training for agricultural communities on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies. 














Food and Agricultural Law

November 14, 2016
UC Davis

Climate Change and Our Food Supply

Bennie Osburn was the guest speaker on November 11th in the University of California Davis School of Law fall semester course on Food and Agricultural Law. The course covers the legal and policy framework of laws and regulations of the USDA, FDA and other federal agencies that regulate food and agricultural production and consumer protections. Osburn touched on several food safety topics regarding the produce production system. He also reviewed the history and purpose behind California Senate Bill No. 27 regarding the use of antimicrobial drugs in food animals and the bill’s impact on the California livestock industry and veterinarians. The bill takes effect in January of 2018.














Dairy Video Series

November 7-9, 2016
Riverdale, CA


It was another successful collaboration between UC Davis, WIFSS, and DeLaval International as Emily Kunz, Cesar Cervantes, and Heather Johnson from WIFSS, and Daniela Bruno and Mario Lopez of DeLaval worked together on another installment of the “Do You Know” video series. This time they were on location at select dairies in the Riverdale community of Fresno County. The early November weather was just right for the video shoot highlighting how to control digital dermatitis on the hoof. View past “Do You Know” videos under the Dairy section on the WIFSS Training and Educational Materials webpage.















Produce Safety Alliance Train the Trainer Course

November 17-18, 2016
Salinas, CA

Food Safety

Linda Harris, Erin DiCaprio (Food Science and Technology Dept.), and Alda Pires attended the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) course that prepares participants to deliver curriculum modules as trainers in a PSA Grower Training course. The course provides information about Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), co-management of natural resources and food safety, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and a review of the seven module PSA Grower Training curriculum. Betsy Bihn, PSA Director along with the Southwest and Northwest PSA Regional Extension Associates Donna Pahl, and Barb Fick, respectively, joined Trevor Suslow to teach the course. More information about this course may be found here.

















Partyka, M.L., R.F. Bond, J.A. Chase and E.R. Atwill. 2017. Monitoring bacterial indicators of water quality in a tidally influenced delta: A Sisyphean pursuit. Science of The Total Environment. In press doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.179

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (Delta) is the confluence of two major watersheds draining the Western Sierra Nevada mountains into the Central Valley of California, ultimately terminating into San Francisco Bay. We sampled 88 sites once a month for two years (2006–2008) over 87 separate sampling events for a total of 1740 samples. Water samples were analyzed for fecal indicator bacteria (Escherichia coli, enterococci and fecal coliforms), and 53 other physiochemical, land use, and environmental characteristics. The purpose of the study was to create a baseline of microbial water quality in the Delta and to identify various factors (climatic, land use, tidal, etc.) that were associated with elevated concentrations of indicator bacteria. Fecal indicator bacteria generally had weak to modest relationships to environmental conditions; the strength and direction of which varied for each microbial indicator, drainage region, and across seasons. Measured and unmeasured, site-specific effects accounted for large portions of variance in model predictions (ρ = 0.086 to 0.255), indicating that spatial autocorrelation was a major component of water quality outcomes. The effects of tidal cycling and lack of connectivity between waterways and surrounding landscapes likely contributed to the lack of association between local land uses and microbial outcomes, though weak associations may also be indicative of mismatched spatiotemporal scales. The complex nature of this system necessitates continued monitoring and regular updates to statistical models designed to predict microbial water quality.



eNewsletter, October 2016




FDA Foods and Veterinary Medicine Science Research Conference

October 25-26, 2016
Silver Springs, MD

FDA Centers of Excellence Annual Meeting

October 27, 2016
College Park, MD

Each year the FDA hosts a meeting at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for the four FDA Centers of Excellence (COEs): IFSH, JIFSAN, NCNPR 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. Michele also attended the 6th Annual FDA Foods and Veterinary Medicine Science Research Conference, where she presented a poster entitled Screening and enumerating Salmonella and pathogenic STEC in raw animal manure used as a soil amendment: data collection for risk assessment. Co-authors are Peiman Aminabadi (WCFS UCD), Yuhuan Chen (CFSAN), David Ingram (CFSAN), Kali Kniel (University of Delaware), Thais de Melo Ramos (University of Delaware), Steven Duret (CFSAN), and David Oryang (CFSAN). This research validated a screening and enumeration method to detect and quantify Salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) from poultry and cattle manure samples, respectively. To reduce labor and cost of doing large numbers of samples, a streamlined flow process was developed by using a combination of presence/absence screening followed by most-probable-number determination. The complete abstract is available here.




4th Asia-Pacific International Food Safety Conference and 7th Asian Conference on Food and Nutrition Safety 

October 11-13, 2016
Penang, Malaysia

Linda Harris gave the International Association for Food Protection Keynote Lecture “Low moisture foods:  food safety challenges and opportunities” to 400 attendees at the Asia-Pacific International Food Safety Conference, which is a regional conference that aims to address the latest trends and issues in food safety across the Asia-Pacific region. It is sponsored in part by the IAFP. The program is available here.






Multi-Regional Risk Analysis Of Farm Manure Use and Soil Health 

Alda Pires and Michele Jay-Russell will lead a project to determine the time needed between application of untreated manure and harvest of food crops to minimize risk from pathogens. The project is funded through a USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant award of $1,999,848. These studies are needed to develop guidelines and best practices for using manure to supply nutrients while minimizing risks in organic crops. In addition to UC Davis, project collaborators include the University of Minnesota; University of Maine; USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Agricultural Center; USDA Economic Research Service, Resource and Rural Economics division; Cornell University; and The Organic Center. The USDA grant award is number 2016-51300-25724. Read more here. The position description may be found below.




CPS Awards 10 New Research Grants

Linda Harris received one of 10 research grants awarded by the Center for Produce Safety (CPS). Harris’s grant is entitled Characterization and mitigation of bacteriological risks associated with packing fresh-market citrus. The awards announced on October 18, 2016, are valued at over $2 million. According to CPS, “the awards are for research projects directed at answering critical questions in specific areas of food safety practices for fruits and vegetables; pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest handling; and food safety and the environment. The objective is to provide the produce industry with practical, translatable research data that can be used at all levels of the supply chain”.




Acidified Foods Manufacturing School 

October 5, 2016
Davis, CA

The Acidified Foods Manufacturing School is offered through North Carolina State University in a combined on-line and in-person format. Segment 1 is offered on-line, and must be taken before Segment 2. Segment 2 was offered in Davis in October, organized by Linda Harris, and had 10 attendees. It will be offered in Davis again in September 2017. More information is available here.




Basic and Advanced HACCP Workshops

October 17-19, 2016
Davis, CA

Linda Harris co-taught the HACCP workshops with Nina Parkinson and Michael Jantschke.
These courses are taught once a year through UC Davis Extension, and designed to meet the requirements of USDA, FDA Seafood, and FDA Juice HACCP regulations, and are applicable to other types of food manufacturing establishments. The courses are accredited by the International HACCP Alliance.






Foot & Mouth Disease Dairy Field Day

October 4, 2016
Tulare, CA

WIFSS and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) partnered together on October 4 for FMD Dairy Field Day at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center (VMTRC). Attendees came from universities, the dairy industry, and state and federal governments in California and throughout the US.

The event was sponsored by USDA-APHIS and the California Dairy Research Foundation, and hosted by the CDFA, WIFSS, the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, and Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health.

Read story and watch video

Mike Payne at FMD Dairy Field Day














NAU-UC Davis One Health Symposium

October 10-11, 2016
UC Davis

The semi-annual symposium for the joint Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) – UC Davis One Health Center for Food Safety and Animal Health was held on the UC Davis campus, October 10-11. The 2-day symposium, hosted by WIFSS, included curriculum development, faculty and graduate student exchanges, and graduate student research projects.

NAU was led by Vice-President Jianjun Dai, and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dean, Jiyong Zhou. Joining Dai and Zhou were professors Zhihong Xin, Huochun Yao, Jiarong Xu, Yong Sam Jung, Yingjuan Qian, and Gaowen Yang.


John Angelos, Amanda Arens, Heather Johnson, and Bennie Osburn, from the School of Veterinary Medicine-WIFSS, met with Vice President Dai, Dean Zhou and Professor Qian, to discuss curricular development for courses that can serve as part of the developing One Health for Food Safety program.

Bennie Osburn, Chris Brunner, Jenny Chen, Xinbin Chen, and John Angelos, served as coordinators for the symposium.

Read full story: One Health for Food Safety and Animal Health Symposium.

NAU Delegation














Delta Flood Safety Fair

October 22, 2016
Isleton, CA

DCP LogoMichael Payne, dairy outreach coordinator with WIFSS, was on-site for the Delta Protection Commission’s Delta Flood Safety Fair, held in Isleton, CA, on October 22. The fair was held in concert with California Flood Preparedness Week. The commission declared a week in October to be the annual Delta Flood Preparedness Week.

WIFSS co-sponsored the fair booth with the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Equine Health.  Payne answered fair goer’s questions about flooding and livestock and equine response and recovery, and distributed brochures on Flooding & Livestock Owners, and Flooding & Equine Owners.
















Nora Sampling Nora Navarro-Gonzalez, postdoc in Michele Jay-Russell’s lab, wrote an article for Atlanta BEST, an online magazine, about utilizing skills she learned in UCD’s FUTURE program (Frontiers of University Training to Unlock the Research Enterprise) while attending the IAFP Annual Meeting this summer. FUTURE is funded by a BEST award (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training, a program of NIH), and is intended to empower graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to better develop their own career paths. The article, entitled What the FUTURE Taught Me, was published in the summer issue and may be found here.






Postdoctoral Scholar Position in Food Safety and Organic Agriculture

The Department of Population and Health and Reproduction at the University of California, Davis seeks one post-doctoral researcher to work in the laboratory of Alda Pires to conduct research on the role of farm manure use in the dissemination of foodborne pathogens (Salmonella, shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes) in organic fresh produce and soil health. The project is a Multi-regional project in collaboration with the Western Center Food Safety, University of Minnesota, University of Maine, Cornell University, USDA-ARS, USDA-ERS, The Organic Center and private produce/livestock industry collaborators. Interested candidates should send their application including a letter stating qualifications and career goals, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references to Alda Pires (apires@ucdavis.edu). Applications will be reviewed and considered upon receipt, and will continue to be accepted through January 5, 2017. For more details go here (position AJL ID# 818127).






Harris, L. J. 2016. Garlic: Safe methods to store, preserve, and enjoy. University of California, ANR, Publication 8568 (major revision of 1997 pub 7231).



eNewsletter, September 2016




Statewide Water Reuse Forum

September 16, 2016
Sacaramento, CA

Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Melissa Partyka, WCFS staff researcher, was invited to attend the Statewide Water Reuse Forum hosted by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and held at the CalEPA Headquarters. The forum was widely attended by leading members of the State Water Resources Control Board, public utility districts, environmental advocacy groups, and the NSF Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley. The purpose of the forum was to discuss the current state of the science/technology behind water reuse in California, current actions being taken by regulatory/governing authorities, and success stories of water reuse driven by community leaders. Breakout sessions were conducted to expose underutilized opportunities for water reuse expansion as well as discussing potential challenges that may impede the success of California’s water reuse goals. Partyka’s role was as a representative of water reuse potential in agricultural settings, an area that has received less attention than urban use.  A report of the proceedings will be presented to the governor’s office and made publically available later this fall.




FARAD Workshop

September 6-17, 2016
Davis, CA

WIFSS hosted a Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD) and One Health Curriculum Workshop September 6 – 17, 2016. Sponsored through a grant from the International Veterinary Collaboration for China (IVCC) and Zoetis, this program brought three faculty from Nanjing Agricultural University (NJAU) College of Veterinary Medicine to UC Davis/WIFSS to attend an intensive 10 day program. In attendance were Professors Ruqian Zhao, Liping Wang, and Ruibing Cao. Session topics during week one included One Health in Food Safety, curriculum development related to One Health in Food Safety, antibiotic residues and regulatory issues affecting the USA, outreach activities to improve dairy operations, and methods for blended learning for adult learners.

Sharing their expertise the first week of the workshop were Ria de Grassi, an agricultural issues and policy strategist and Dr. Jessica Light of Zoetis, along with a team from the School of Veterinary Medicine and WIFSS, including Drs. John Angelos, Amanda ArensBennie Osburn, Michael Payne, Birgit Puschner, David Goldenberg and Heather Johnson.

In week two, faculty attended sessions led by Dr. Lisa Tell and her FARAD team on how FARAD functions to assist veterinarians and producers in maintaining a food supply free of drug residues. This program will help in establishing future working relationships between WIFSS/SVM and NJAU to increase educational and research collaborations related to One Health in Food Safety and food supply drug residue avoidance.

FARAD Workshop














Farm-To-Fork Festival

September 24, 2016
Sacramento, CA

WIFSS volunteers enjoyed greeting the record-breaking attendance crowds spread along seven blocks of Capitol Mall during the fourth annual Farm-to-Fork Festival.  Among the hundreds of vendor booths at the September 24th festival was the School of Veterinary Medicine-WIFSS booth which included family-friendly games focused on testing festival goer’s food safety knowledge. The motto “Food Safety Matters” was front and center in volunteer’s interactions with the hundreds of families that dropped by the booth.

Thanks to the engaging WIFSS team including Amlan Aggrawal, John Angelos, Ronald Bond, Chris Brunner, Jessica Cadriel, Emily Kunz, Bennie Osburn, Melissa Partyka, Robert Pattison, and Clare Wei.

Farm to Fork














UC ANR Food Blog

September 2016

Researchers from UC Davis and Washington State University Extension are conducting research and workshops helping answer key questions for the tree fruit industry. Water quality training seminars for growers that have to comply with new water testing requirements have already begun in Washington with the leadership of UC Davis researchers such as Melissa Partyka, Ronald Bond, and Jennifer Chase. The workshops are spreading the word about proper methods for obtaining accurate water samples in order to be in compliance with regulations in the Produce Safety Rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Read about it in the September Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Food Blog.














eNewsletter, August 2016




International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting

July 31 - August 3, 2016
St Louis, MO

Linda Harris and Alejandro Mazzotta

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

Posters presented:

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

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

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

Mahta Moussavi and her poster

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

Michele and Nora poster

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

Laura Patterson and her poster

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












National Water Resources Association Western Water Seminar

August 5, 2016
Sun Valley, ID

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












American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Annual Convention

August 5-9, 2016
San Antonio, TX

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














California Food Emergency Response Team (CalFERT) Commodity Specific Training

August 24-25, 2016
Sacramento, CA

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














Meet with Washington State Tree-Fruit Growers and Irrigation Districts

August 1-3, 2016
Yakima Valley, WA

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














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

August 15-17, 2016
Central Valley, CA

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













Ronnie Bond sampling


July 13, 2016

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

July 11, 2016

Water Sampling Done Simply

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














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

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









eNewsletter, July 2016




One Health for Food Safety Conference

June 27 - July 22, 2016
Davis, CA

One Health ConferenceEleven faculty representing four vocational colleges in China celebrated the conclusion of an intense 4-week conference for One Health at UC Davis on July 22. The One Health for Food Safety Conference, sponsored by UC Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), provided course participants the opportunity to learn about the connection between the environment, people, and animals. Through classroom lectures presented by UC Davis faculty, and field trips offering hands-on learning experiences, the visiting faculty discovered how they have the power to promote progress towards safer, better quality food systems in China.

Xuzhou Vocational College of Bioengineering, Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College, Xinjiang Agricultural Vocational Technical College, and Chengdu Agricultural College were represented by faculty with major areas of interest including traditional veterinary medicine, Chinese medicine, food science, bee science, bioengineering, farm products processing and storage, and fermentation engineering.

Robert Atwill, Director of WIFSS, welcomed the group on the opening day and later gave an overview of the programs at WIFSS. At the closing he presented the 11 faculty with certificates of completion. Amanda Arens, Program Manager, Outreach and Training at WIFSS presented an overview of the Web of Causation, illustrating the complex relationships between pathogens and products that can cause contamination. Michael Payne, Dairy Outreach Coordinator, spoke to the faculty about how dairy food safety is managed in the United States and aspects of prudent use of antibiotics in the dairy industry.

Bennie Osburn, Director of Outreach and Training, discussed the approach to developing an overall awareness of food safety issues and summarized the various steps required to address food safety issues from education to regulatory. Heather Johnson, Instructional Systems Designer, WIFSS, discussed vocational education and different teaching methods including problem based learning and blended learning. David Goldenberg, Food Safety and Security Training Coordinator, was instructor for the table top exercises reviewing video segments of potential food safety hazards.  Goldenberg and Johnson facilitated the problem-based learning discussions of the two faculty teams. Michele Jay-Russell, Program Manager for the Western Center for Food Safety and liaison to WIFSS, presented an overview of the relationship of animals and produce.

Osburn, and Chris Brunner, Public Relations Officer with WIFSS, were the conference coordinators. The outreach and training, and research teams, at WIFSS contributed greatly to the success of the conference.












Food Micro 2016

July 19-22, 2016
Dublin, Ireland

Linda HarrisLinda Harris attended the 25th International ICMFH Conference at University College Dublin, Ireland, where she presented a poster entitled Survival of foodborne pathogens in recirculated fungicides applied to fresh-market citrus fruit (Abstract 520).  ‘One Health Meets Food Microbiology’ was the theme of FoodMicro 2016, sponsored by the International Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene (ICMFH), and a wide variety of subjects was discussed including food safety, food hygiene, food biotechnology and the application of molecular approaches. The book of abstracts is available here.

















UCCE Marin

UC Cooperative Extension Marin County has posted a website for the Food Safety Workshop series in which Michele Jay-Russell, Alda Pires, and Trevor Suslow participated in June (see June 2016). Included are the speaker presentations, food safety plan worksheets for home use, and other food safety resources.









Southeast Regional Agricultural Water Quality Workshops

July 5-8, 2016

WCFS staff members, Melissa Partyka and Ronald Bond traveled to the Southeast Gulf States of Mississippi and Louisiana to discuss the creation of region-specific agricultural water quality training for FSMA compliance. They established relationships with a number of regional government and extension agents including State Conservationist Kurt Readus of the USDA-NRCS in Jackson, MS,  Bakarat Mahmoud, an Assoc. Extension Professor in Food Safety at Mississippi State University, and Achyut Adhikari, an Asst. Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.  Ronald and Melissa will be coordinating with these individuals and several others from Arkansas and Alabama to conduct at least two workshops in the region this coming fall.






Jackson Meeting

Melissa Partyka












Antaki, E.M., G. Vellidis, C. Harris, P. Aminabadi, K. Levy, and M. Jay-Russell.  2016Low Concentration of Salmonella enterica and Generic Escherichia coli in Farm Ponds and Irrigation Distribution Systems Used for Mixed Produce Production in Southern Georgia.   Foodborne Pathog. Dis.  July 11, 2016, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2117.

The purpose of this research was to assess the presence and concentration of Salmonella and generic Escherichia coli in irrigation water from distribution systems in a mixed produce production region of southern Georgia. Water samples were collected during three growing seasons at three farms irrigating crops with surface water (Pond 1, Pond 2) or groundwater (Well) during 2012–2013. Salmonella and generic E. coli populations were monitored by culture and Most Probable Number (MPN).  Salmonella was detected in both ponds in surface and subsurface samples.  It was also detected in center pivot and drip line samples that distributed pond waters.  It was not detected in well pumps or associated drip line water samples.  The overall mean Salmonella concentration for positive water samples was 0.03 MPN/100 mL (range <0.0011–1.8 MPN/100 mL). Nine Salmonella serovars comprising 22 pulsotypes were identified.  Generic E. coli was detected in water from both farm ponds and irrigation distribution systems, but the concentrations met FSMA microbial water quality criteria. The results from this study will allow producers in southern Georgia to better understand how potential pathogens move through irrigation distribution systems.


Davidson, G. R., J. C. Frelka, and L. J. Harris. 2016. Efficacy of peracetic acid-based sprays against microbial loads on conveyors in a walnut hulling facility. Food Prot. Trends 38(4):301-309.

The efficacy of commercial peracetic acid (PAA)-based sanitizer spray applications was evaluated for efficacy in reducing aerobic plate counts (APC) and Escherichia coli/ coliform counts (ECC) on conveyor belts in a commercial walnut huller. Water alone was compared to one of four PAA-based sanitizers at concentrations of 100 or 200 ppm PAA. APC and ECC were significantly (P < 0.05) lower on conveyor belts sprayed with 200 ppm PAA than on those sprayed with water. Significantly (P < 0.05) lower APC and ECC were observed on conveyor belts sprayed with one PAA formulation at 100 ppm (5.00 and 4.14 log CFU/100 cm2, respectively) than on those sprayed with water (6.40 and 6.10 log CFU/100 cm2, respectively). The efficacy of this sanitizer was not significantly different (P > 0.05) at 25, 50, 80, or 100 ppm (APC: 4.32 to 4.51 log CFU/100 cm2; ECC: 2.79 to 2.87 log CFU/100 cm2). PAA sprays reduce microbial levels on conveyer belt surfaces in walnut hulling facilities, which may reduce the potential for cross-contamination.


Frelka, J. C., G. R. Davidson, and L. J. Harris. 2016. Changes in aerobic plate and E. coli-coliform counts and in populations of inoculated foodborne pathogens in inshell walnuts during storage.  J. Food Prot. 79(7):1143-1153.

After harvest, inshell walnuts are dried using low-temperature forced air and are then stored in bins or silos for up to 1 year. To better understand the survival of bacteria on inshell walnuts, aerobic plate counts (APCs) and Escherichia coli/coliform counts (ECCs) were evaluated during commercial storage (10 to 12°C and 63 to 65% relative humidity) over 9 months. APCs decreased by 1.4 to 2.0 log CFU per nut during the first 5 months of storage, and ECCs decreased by 1.3 to 2.2 log CFU per nut in the first month of storage. Through the remaining 4 to 8 months of storage, APCs and ECCs remained unchanged (P > 0.05) or decreased by <0.15 log CFU per nut per month. Similar trends were observed on kernels extracted from the inshell walnuts. APCs and ECCs were consistently and often significantly higher on kernels extracted from visibly broken inshell walnuts than on kernels extracted from visibly intact inshell walnuts. Parameters measured in this study were used to determine the survival of five-strain cocktails of E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella inoculated onto freshly hulled inshell walnuts (∼8 log CFU/g) after simulated commercial drying (10 to 12 h; 40°C) and simulated commercial storage (12 months at 10°C and 65% relative humidity). Populations declined by 2.86, 5.01, and 4.40 log CFU per nut for E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, and Salmonella, respectively, after drying and during the first 8 days of storage.  For some samples, E. coli or L. monocytogenes populations were below the limit of detection by plating (0.60 log CFU per nut) by day 183 or 148, respectively; at least one of the six samples was positive at each subsequent sampling time by either plating or by enrichment.









eNewsletter, June 2016




Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium

June 28-29, 2016
Seattle, WA

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

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















Agricultural Water Quality Workshops

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

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












Preventive Controls Qualified Individual Training

June 1-3, 2016
Modesto, CA

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









Meeting with delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture of China

June 2, 2016
Davis, CA

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









Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course

June 13-24, 2016
Davis, CA

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









Almond Quality & Food Safety Symposium

June 16, 2016
Modesto, CA

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









On Farm Food Safety Workshop Series

June 20, 2016
Petaluma, CA

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

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











Comstock Magazine

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



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

Quote from the review:

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

More information about the book can be found here.










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

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


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

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

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













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

The new deadline for comments is July 19, 2016

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









eNewsletter, May 2016




LGMA Metrics Reviewed by Expert Panel

LGMAMichele Jay-Russell was a member of a four-person Expert Panel that reviewed the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA) metrics. The Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Production and Harvest of Leafy Greens was first published in 2007 and most recently revised in 2013. “A key focus of this revision was to identify, where possible and practical, metrics and measures that could be used to assist the industry with compliance with the guidelines…. Metrics were researched for three primary areas: water quality, soil amendments, and environmental assessments/conditions.” The panel was charged with evaluating the scientific validity of the guidelines and whether the guidelines provide at least the same level of public health protection as the new FDA Produce Rule. Their  findings, published on May 17, 2016, are summarized here. The independent review was conducted by iDecisionSciences and Western Growers. The panel also included Robert Bracket (IFSH-IIT), Kali E. Kniel (University of Delaware) and Manan Sharma (USDA-ARS). The full report is available here.














The 2nd Annual UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium

May 18, 2016
Davis, CA

Elizabeth Antaki and Nora Navarro-Gonzalez, WCFS researchers, were among more than 50 postdoctoral researchers who gave oral presentations in the 2nd annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium.  In addition, there were poster sessions and panel discussions.  Elizabeth spoke on “Assessment of Zoonotic Risks in Aquaponic Produce Production in a session entitled Agricultural Enhancements” in a session entitled Agricultural Enhancements.  Nora spoke on “Food-borne Pathogens in Free-range Cattle: Is there transmission from/to birds?” in a session entitled Contagions and Infestations.  Abstracts for all presentations are available here.







Nora and Creux

Nora Navarro-Gonzalez receiving best speaker award from Nicky Creux, event organizer, at the postdoctoral research symposium




SMS Plans

May 10-11, 2016
Pennsville, NJ

WIFSS  is a partner in USDA-state collaboration with the Secure Milk Supply Plan, (SMS), dedicated to planning for business stability during an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The voluntary program seeks to pre-approve biosecurity measures which would allow continued marketing of milk during disease control efforts. Academic and regulatory representative from twelve Mid-Atlantic States met in Pennsville New Jersey to strategize on how to implement the plan on the East Coast. Michael Payne from WIFSS attended to learn how other states were addressing logistical hurdles and share some of what California is doing. 






Dairy Experts

Dairy experts from the East Coast huddle around the rear end of a milk tanker listening as the plant manager describes biosecurity efforts which would keep from spreading Hoof and Mouth Disease from one farm to another during an outbreak. 





Food Systems Disasters and Recovery

May 10 & 11, 2016
Harrionville, MO

DHS and RDPC logos

Tracey Stevens, an instructor in Animals in Disaster with WIFSS was the trainer for the AWR 155 and 156 courses which took place in Harrisonville, Missouri, on May 10 and 11. The AWR 155 course, Principles of Frontline Response to Agroterrorism and Food Systems Disasters, outlines the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) and the principles of Unified Command (UC) in an agroterrorism and food safety system disaster. First responders taking the course learned about the need to quickly identify and eradicate outbreaks of animal diseases by isolating and destroying livestock and wildlife, removing and disposing of contaminated animal products, and disposing of contaminated feed and related materials.

In the AWR 156 course, Principles of Planning and Implementing Recovery, participants were trained in recovery operations, procedures, and techniques to be implemented following an incident of agroterrorism. They learned detailed steps for planning for recovery, both within participants’ own organizations and as stakeholders in the larger community-wide incident command system.

WIFSS currently has six Department of Homeland Security certified courses that are offered through the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium and aim to train first responders in rural areas of the country for disaster situations that involve or directly affect our food supply system.









Food Safety in Madagascar

May 2-6, 2016
Davis, CA

Nirina ”Feno” Randriambololona, a Humphrey Fellow, from Madagascar, spent one week at WIFSS learning about the One Health approach to food safety.  Foodborne illnesses are a major concern in her country and there are no programs at present to address the issues surrounding these diseases. During this time she reviewed and discussed ways by which she could develop educational and outreach programs that could be provided in schools, or in rural communities. Much of the food is imported from other countries as well, and little is known of the source or quality of these food supplies for the population. WIFSS has provided her with background information and encouragement to start a program in the country.






Feno, Heather, Jessica and John

Feno stands outside the WIFSS building with Heather Johnson, Jessica Cadriel and John Angelos.



Biosecurity for Dairy Industry

May 6, 2016
Davis, CA

Chris Morley, a veterinarian with DairyNZ, visited WIFSS to discuss strategies on approaching biosecurity for the dairy industry in New Zealand. Morley and Michael Payne, John Angelos, Pam Hullinger and Bennie Osburn discussed the New Zealand program which is supported by a checkoff system addressing agroterrorism and all-hazard issues having the potential to impact the dairy industry. The program not only addresses dairy cattle and the dairy products, but also such things as the introduction of invasive plant species which have the potential of crowding out pastures and forages essential to the feed and food supply. The exchange between DairyNZ and WIFSS compliments the Secure Milk Supply Plan, which WIFSS is involved with through its work with SMS Partners including UC Davis, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, USDA/NPIC, and USDA/CEAH.