eNewsletter, August-September 2018
May 2017 | WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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Please have a look at where we've been and upcoming events in food safety and security. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either or Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis

International Alliance for Agriculture | September 14-17, 2018, Taizhou, China
Bennie Osburn addressed an audience of hundreds at the summit on Higher Vocational Education International Alliance for Agri-husbandry & Development Conference of Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College. The conference was part the 60th anniversary celebration of the Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College and guests were gathered at the summit to promote global cooperation to achieve multilateral development. More than 22 countries primarily from China, Southeast Asia and Africa participated in the milestone of the college’s development. In addition to his speech on Integrating Education & Extension for the Health of People, Animals & the Environment, Osburn participated in meetings with representatives from vocational colleges to discuss plans for the Alliance website which would include a set of metrics to: highlight key informational programs and data bases for targeting progress in meeting common goals; establish relevant professional and industry standards; organize international skills for teachers and students; establish standards for vocational education and recognition of outstanding teachers; and, coordinate student exchanges, teacher exchanges, and continue recruiting new members.  The governance will be by a council consisting of 50 members and plenary sessions involving all members every two years. 
Integrating Veterinary Medicine, Animal Science, and Agricultural Engineering through One Health | August 13-31, 2018, Davis, CA
The Integrating Veterinary Medicine, Animal Science, and Agricultural Engineering through One Health conference, held at UC Davis, August 13-31, 2018, was hosted and coordinated by WIFSS, and sponsored by Nanjing Agricultural University. The conference provided an in-depth educational experience for 34 undergraduate students from Nanjing Agricultural University, colleges of veterinary medicine, animal science, and engineering, to learn about the importance of integrating a One Health approach to solving problems concerning food safety and security, and animal health. The comprehensive program included lectures, field trips, and team-building exercises raising students’ awareness for taking a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. This approach prepares students for careers which will promote progress towards safer, better quality food systems and healthy animals and people in China. 

Research and Development for Dairy Producers | September 18-19, 2018, Kansas City, MO
The WIFSS video production team was on site at the DeLaval research and development facility, and training center, in Kansas City, MO for filming on 9/18 and 9/19. Emily Kunz and Greg Wlasiuk were the videographers on the trip coming up with creative ideas for capturing the action taking place inside the DeLaval chemistry and microbiology laboratories. Heather Johnson served as the director working to ensure that all shots that were captured tell the unique story of the power behind the work that the research and development scientists do at DeLaval. WIFSS has been working with DeLaval for over three years creating training videos that help dairy farmers better understand how to best use DeLaval products and carry out routine practices for animal health and food safety on dairy farms. This new video tells a slightly different story about the necessity of the team that comes up with the solutions to meet the needs that dairy farmers and food processors face in the real world. DeLaval is working hard to develop new products, and find innovative ways to reengineer current products, so that all DeLaval products are sustainable, having the smallest impact on the environment as possible.
Emily Kunz, Heather Johnson, and Greg Wlasiuk take time for a selfie inside the DeLaval research and development facility during a busy production session in Kansas City
China Agriculture University | September 6, 2018, Davis, CA
Advancing knowledge, education, and training of future leaders in sustainable agri-food systems was the goal of a two week conference hosted by the Office of International Programs for a delegation of 18 students from China Agriculture University. The students visited WIFSS on September 6th where Bennie Osburn gave them an overview of the research, training, and outreach programs at WIFSS.  They learned about the big problem of foodborne diseases and the solutions for breaking the chain of foodborne illness.  A safe food supply is reliant on the efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to achieve optimal health for people, animals, and the environment.  The students heard about the One Health conferences coordinated by WIFSS which raise awareness of the concept of One Health, teach team building, and inspire a call to action.  Many of the students were interested in attending a future conference.
Bennie Osburn and other members of the WIFSS team with a delegation of students from China Agriculture University
AWR and MGT Courses | August, September 2018, California, Missouri, and Washington
It’s been a busy disaster preparedness training schedule for WIFSS personnel this summer.  Aside from a double header earlier this summer in the beautiful state of Washington, Tracey Stevens has been on the road in Missouri and California.  In Warrenton, MO, the focus was on planning for floods and tornados. In San Andreas, CA, many animal control officers were in attendance, in addition to the California Rural Crime Task Force, and emergency management personnel, where they reviewed gaps of strategy for addressing wildfires.  AWR 328 and MGT 448 were offered in both locations.
The awareness level course (AWR 328) provides a forum for individuals from many different perspectives to meet together and think through what would be needed in order to effectively respond to a disaster that impacts animals in a rural region in the U.S.
The management level course (MGT 448) provides emergency planners, community leaders, veterinarians, animal control personnel, government and non-government agencies and public health agencies with the background information needed to participate in the development of disaster response plans that could be included within the existing operational area.
Tracey Stevens, an instructor and trainer with WIFSS, (seated, far right), with first responders, emergency planners, veterinarians, animal control personnel, and government agency officials in San Andreas during all hazards preparedness for animals in disasters course

Washington State Cooperative Monitoring Steering Committee | May, June, September 2018
Ronald Bond and Melissa Partyka along with Ines Hanrahan-Executive Director of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and Justin Harter-Manager of the Naches-Selah Irrigation District held meetings with growers, producers and WSDA in Yakima, Washington to discuss the feasibility of FSMA cooperative monitoring in aiding agricultural water compliance. Talks centered around specifics reporting and potential roadblocks. Data generated from the WCFS Cooperative Monitoring Project will aid in assisting growers address how best to share data. A pilot project is in the works.
Pictured L to R: Justin Harter, Ines Hanrahan, Melissa Partyka and Ronald Bond


New Infragard Role for WIFSS’s David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg has been selected as the InfraGard National Sector Chief for Food and Agriculture Sector. InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and members of the private sector. The InfraGard Sector Chief Program was created to aid in the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure by establishing a network of members with sector-specific expertise to facilitate timely information sharing between the FBI’s 56 field offices and the private sector. This exchange of information enhances the ability of the FBI and partnering federal agencies to address threats to the sixteen recognized sectors of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
In his new role Goldenberg will:
  • Assist the 80 U.S. national InfraGard chapters to build and sustain an effective local Sector Chief program
  • Serve as a nationally recognized sector-specific expert to the FBI
  • Advise the InfraGard National Board of Directors to aid in strategic alignment of sector-specific activities with over-arching InfraGard national goals and objectives.

Puppy Outbreak: What Dog Owners Should Know About Campylobacter

Michele Jay-Russell was interviewed by Leslie Nemo, Live Science contributor, for a story covering a new report (published Sept. 21) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2016 and 2018, 118 people in 18 states were sickened with multi-drug resistant Campylobacter jejuni. The CDC tracked the source of the outbreak to puppies distributed from breeders to a chain pet store. Jay-Russell discusses how Campylobacter is transmitted and advice for pet owners. "If dog owners don't skimp on cleanliness procedures, they likely won't get sick from any bacteria on their pups. Washing hands after playing with dogs, picking up poop and keeping food bowls clean can go a long way, Jay-Russell said. And while the raw food diet for dogs might be trendy, she added, feeding dogs raw chicken runs the risk of feeding them C. jejuni."


Partyka, M. L., Bond, R. F., Chase, J. A., & Atwill, E. R. (2018). Spatiotemporal Variability in Microbial Quality of Western US Agricultural Water Supplies: A Multistate Study. Journal of Environmental Quality, 47(5), 939-948, doi:10.2134/jeq2017.12.0501.
Core Ideas
  • Western US irrigation water supplies rarely exceed FDA agricultural water standards.
  • Indicator bacteria are not predictive of pathogen prevalence or concentration.
  • Prevalence of pathogens in irrigation water is higher than previously reported.
  • Odds of detecting Salmonella improved >270% with an increase in sample volume.
  • More research is needed to provide science-based guidance to the produce industry.
In 2011, the US Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which tasks the US Food and Drug Administration to establish microbiological standards for agricultural water. However, little data are available for the microbiological quality of surface water irrigation supplies. During the 2015 irrigation season, we conducted a baseline study on the microbial water quality of large irrigation districts in California (n = 2) and Washington (n = 4). Monthly samples (n = 517) were analyzed for bacterial indicators (fecal coliforms, enterococci, and Escherichia coli) and pathogens (Salmonella spp., E. coli O157, and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli [STEC]). Although there was a high degree of variability (μ ± SD = 59.13 ± 106.0), only 11% of samples (56/517) exceeded 126 colony-forming units (CFU) 100 mL−1, and only six samples exceeded 410 CFU 100 mL−1. Two volumes of water were collected for pathogen analysis (1 L and 10 L); prevalence of Salmonella in 10-L samples (68/149) was nearly double of that found in 1-L samples (132/517). We found STEC during ∼9% of sampling events (58/517); serotypes O26 and O45 were the most common at 31 and 26%, respectively. Pathogens were not associated with exceedance of the regulatory threshold, yet the odds of detecting Salmonella increased approximately threefold (odds ration [O.R.] = 3.14, p < 0.0001) for every log increase in turbidity. Microbiological outcomes were highly district-specific, suggesting drivers of water quality vary across spatiotemporal scales. The true risk of contamination of produce from irrigation water supplies remains unknown, along with the optimal monitoring strategy to improve food safety.


Featured Research is a new blog-like page on the Western Center for Food Safety website. Under News, this section of the website provides a more in-depth look at research projects being conducted by WCFS scientists and affiliates

Read our first entry here.


Western Center for Food Safety has a New Look!

WCFS launched an updated website with links to our Featured News, eNewsletters, and Resources. We are grateful to Emily Kunz for her excellent work on the new design. Please have a look!
Postdoctoral Scholar Positions Available at WCFS

The Western Center for Food Safety (WCFS) is seeking two postdoctoral scholars to conduct research on high priority public health issues addressing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated fresh fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. Postdoctoral scholars will have multiple opportunities to interact with the broader UC Davis community, as well as collaborators from other universities and federal food safety scientists at the FDA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Working with the WCFS team, postdocs would have an option to lead one or more of the following areas of investigation that include existing datasets and new projects.

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