WCFS - Western Center for Food Safety

Agricultural Water and Soil Amendments

The Western Center for Food Safety was asked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to facilitate the development of research protocols for scientific studies that evaluate the persistence of foodborne pathogens in the environment and on the edible portions of fresh produce following:

  • application of potentially contaminated untreated soil amendments of animal origin to land used to grow fresh produce or
  • application of potentially contaminated agricultural water applied to the edible portion of the crop

Methods used to generate currently available data vary widely and thereby complicate objective evaluation and comparison of data from multiple studies. Two committees of research scientists were established to survey key existing studies and generate recommendations based on their findings. The resulting documents provide a framework for the design of future studies and may be a useful tool for evaluating the strength of existing data.

Framework Documents

The Agricultural Water and Soil Amendment framework documents were developed by two committees through a series of webinars, e-mail communication and a workshop that was held in Davis, CA in October 2011. Additional academic, government and industry food safety experts reviewed the draft documents prior to submission to the Journal of Food Protection.

Related Documents and Resources

Links to information about climate, state-specific resources for agricultural water and manure use on fresh produce, testing methods and related references are found on the Agricultural Water and Soil Amendments pages.