eNewsletter, January-February-March 2019
May 2017 | WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work these past few months making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either or Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis

Go to:  Meetings   |  Outreach   |  Research  |  Publications  |  Announcements


AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials | February 20-21, 2019 | Schaumberg, IL

Michele Jay-Russell attended the in-person meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Committee on Antimicrobials (CoA). Jay-Russell serves on the CoA as the Alternate Representative of the American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians, and was re-appointed to serve 2019-2022. The charge of the CoA is to serve as the primary resource to AVMA on antimicrobial issues, oversee AVMA antimicrobial policies, promote antimicrobial stewardship, and provide AVMA members with stewardship resources. The committee membership is made up of primary and alternate representatives from companion animal, avian, bovine, equine, fish, small ruminant, and swine veterinarians. There are also consultants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the Animal Health Institute. We recently published the AVMA's definitions of antimicrobial uses for prevention, control, and treatment of disease (see publications).
AVMA logo


CalFERT Tree Nut Workshop | March 19-20, 2019 | Davis, CA

Linda J. Harris organized a 2-day workshop on tree nuts March 19-20 at UC Davis for the California Food Emergency Response Team. The over 35 attendees represented California Department of Public Health, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs. Onsite instructors included Bradley Marks, Michigan State University, former WCFS ORISE fellow Tyann Blessington, LCDR Public Health Core, Coordinated Outbreak Response & Evaluation Network CORE Signals & Surveillance Team, FDA CFSAN, and former WCFS Postdoctoral Scholar Gordon Davidson, FDA CFSAN. Nate Anderson, FDA CFSAN (Chicago), and Sofia Santillana Farakos (FDA CFSAN) participated via Zoom.  The workshop covered a range of topics from production practices to validation and risk assessment and attempted to summarize the past nearly 20 years of food safety research in this area.

Produce Safety Rule and Almond Food Safety | January 29th, 2019 & March 12-13, 2019 | Glenn, CA, & Davis, CA

WCFS researchers have also been busy with educating growers on the Produce Safety Rule. Linda Harris was lead instructor for a PSA training for 50 almond growers in Glenn, California, January 29, 2019. She also gave a presentation on “Almond Food Safety Research” to the Almond Board Leadership Class 2019 on March 12  and webinar “Food Safety and FSMA in Almond Production”, to almond growers for AgSafe on March 13, both at UC Davis. 

All-Hazards Approach to Disaster Preparedness and Response | March 12, 2019 | UC Davis

John Madigan, IWATI Director, demonstrated and discussed the role of organizing the veterinary students into the Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) program and their roles in administering animal rescue and recovery programs activities during disasters such as wildfires and floods. He also demonstrated the toolkit commonly used during the rescue of animals as well as discussing some of the medical approaches required for treatment of affected animals in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).

Bennie Osburn gave an overview of the US Department of Homeland Security courses which WIFSS gives through the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) for agricultural and food systems. AWR 328, All-Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters, was developed because of the need for specific training on how to incorporate specific plans for animals and food systems into a community’s disaster response plans. MGT 448, All-Hazards Planning for Animal, Agricultural, and Food Related Disasters, builds upon the information that was presented in AWR 328. The purpose of these courses is to bring together emergency managers from rural communities and give them an opportunity to start the planning process to develop animals, agricultural, and food related disaster response plans that will fit into the emergency operation plan that already exists in their communities.

Entrepreneurs and Food Safety | March 7, 2019 | Anaheim, CA

Linda Harris gave a presentation March 7 on “What Food Entrepreneurs Need to Know about Food Safety” at the Natural Products Expo West, Anaheim, CA, as part of a UC Davis Education Track. She discussed products, processes and regulatory framework and the importance of understanding the supply chain. She used examples of foodborne outbreaks related to natural and specialty foods sectors to illustrate vulnerabilities for smaller processors related to ingredient sourcing and control, understanding formulation and process validation, and use of co-packers. She encouraged participants to ask lots of questions of their suppliers and collaborators and to be transparent when communicating to others about their food safety and quality systems. Other presentations from the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology included “The Future of Health: Personalized Diets” (Bruce German), “Improving Health with Microbes” (Maria Marco), and “Natural’s Many Meanings: Power, Politics & Expertise in the Public Comment on Regulating Natural Claims” (Charlotte Biltekoff).
China delegation visit

Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Delegation for Sustainable Management of the Environment and Natural Resources in Agriculture | March 5, 2019 | UC Davis, WIFSS

Bennie Osburn spoke about the importance of taking a One Health approach to solving big problems impacting food safety and animal health. The health of people in society is directly related to the health of crops and produce, food animals, and the environments in which they are produced. The availability of safe food improves the health of people and is a basic human right.

Families and their pets, as well as agricultural livestock, are exposed to food and waterborne pathogens from around the globe.

The delegation was interested in WIFFS’s One Health courses for food safety and animal health and want to know about opportunities to enroll in upcoming conferences. Mike Payne talked about the importance of California Dairy Quality Assurance Program as an effective means of communicating the need for improving dairy production practices to meet societal needs.

AgSafe Activate19 Annual Conference | February 27, 2019 | Monterey, CA

David Goldenberg presented at the AgSafe Food and Farms Activate19 Annual Conference on February 27 in Monterey.  His presentation, “Principals of Preparedness for Agroterrorism and Food Systems Disasters”, touched on vulnerabilities and what the industry needs to do to guard against intentional adulteration of the food supply. He cited terrorism examples that have occurred in the US and around the world.

AgSafe’s signature conference, ACTIVATE19, challenges participants past regulatory compliance to set new standards for the food and farming industries. The conference features practical and innovative solutions and offers tools in the areas of worker safety and health, pesticide safety, leadership development, human resources, and food safety.

Fifth Annual One Health Student Winter Conference | January 27 – February 16, 2019 | UC Davis

The fifth annual One Health winter conference for food safety and security was held at UC Davis January 27 – February 16. The conference, sponsored by WIFSS, provided an in-depth educational experience for 34 undergraduate students and two teachers from Nanjing Agricultural University to learn about the importance of applying a One Health approach to solving problems concerning food safety and security, and animal health. The comprehensive program included lectures, field trips, and team-building exercises which increased the students’ awareness of taking a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex problems concerning the health of people, animals and the environment. This One Health approach to solving problems is critical in promoting progress towards safer, better quality food systems and healthy animals in China. 

Supporting the conference from WIFSS were Bennie Osburn, Chris Brunner, David Goldenberg, Sara Garcia, Heather Johnson, Emily Kunz and Greg Wlasiuk, and Jenny Chen. Emeritus staff from the School of Veterinary Medicine, Michele Jay-Russell from the WCFS, and 17 faculty from across the UC Davis campus and the Veterinary Medical Teaching and Research Center in Tulare contributed their expertise to learning experiences of the students.
David Goldenberg talks about Good Agricultural Practices with PSA class participants in the Watsonville course.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course | January 15, 2019 | UC Davis - WIFSS

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) grower training courses are underway.  David Goldenberg, Food Safety and Security Training Coordinator at WIFSS and Aparna Gazula, a farm advisor for small farms and specialty crops with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension in Santa Clara County, conducted the first class on January 15. The inaugural PSA class was held in the WIFSS conference room and engaged 15 students who represented Northern California produce and nut growers.

David was in Watsonville in mid-February where the PSA class was conducted in English on February 19 and in Spanish on February 20.  In March, Dr. Michele Jay-Russell joined David in Oroville where the course was taught at the Butte County Farm Bureau.  Check out other upcoming courses.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), requires vegetable, nut, and fruit growers to have at least one supervisor or responsible party on the produce farm who has successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration. The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security is serving the needs of the farming community by helping meet these training requirements and offering a series of 20 Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower training courses on behalf of the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA). The courses will be offered in English and Spanish, and will conclude in June 2019. The PSA courses have been approved by FDA to meet the FSMA requirement. Registrants attending the entire seven-module training will receive an official training certificate issued by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO).

Dr. Xiang (Crystal) Yang

New collaboration on food safety research

Dr. Xiang (Crystal) Yang is an assistant professor and meat scientist in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. She has expertise in metagenomics and bioinformatics, and uses these approaches to study foodborne pathogens and resistome in the food supply chain. Dr. Yang is interested in collaboration with WIFSS on food safety research. Recently Dr. Yang, Rob Atwill, Xunde Li, and Maurice Pitesky worked together to develop a pilot study proposal for the CDFA to investigate microbiome and resistome in retail meat sold in southern California.
Chen, Z., S. Biswas, P. Aminabadi, J.Stackhouse, M.T. Jay-Russell, P.K. Pandey. 2019. Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella spp. in solid bovine manure in California using real-time quantitative PCR. Lett Appl Microbiol. Apr 1. doi: 10.1111/lam.13156. [Epub ahead of print]

Lieberman, V. M., and L. J. Harris. 2019. Fate of inoculated Listeria monocytogenes on yellow onions (Allium cepa) under conditions simulating food service and consumer handling and storage. Food Control 96:375-382.

Moussavi, M., V. Lieberman, C. Theofel, J. Barouei, and L. J. Harris. 2019. Growth of Salmonella on inoculated inhull pistachios during postharvest handling. J. Food Prot. 82(2):217-225.

Pires, A.F.A., P.D. Millner, J. Baron, M.T. Jay-Russell. 2018. Assessment of current practices of organic farmers regarding biological soil amendments of animal origin in a multi-regional US study. Food Protect. Trends. 38(5):347-362.

Smith, D.R., P.S. Gaunt, P.J. Plummer, H.M. Cervantes, P. Davies, V.R. Fajt, E. Frey, M.T. Jay-Russell, T.W.
Lehenbauer, M.G. Papich, T.M. Parker, E.C. Phipps, J.M. Scheftel, L.V. Schnabel, R.S. Singer, J.E. Whaley, J.K. Wishnie, L.R. Wright, and M. Costin. 2019. The AVMA's definitions of antimicrobial uses for prevention, control, and treatment of disease. JAVMA 254(7):792-797.


May 14 - 15, 2019: Upcoming Microbial Challenge Testing for Foods Workshop:

Linda Harris will join co-instructors Kathy Glass (University of Wisconsin) and Don Schaffner (Rutgers University) to teach the 10th IAFP workshop Microbial Challenge Testing for Foods Workshop in Chicago, IL May 14-15, 2019.  Registration information can be found here:

June 5 - 6, 2019: Breeding Crops for Enhanced Food Safety (Davis)

Join us for the first workshop of its kind! Attendees will collaborate to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities in this emerging field of breeding for food safety. Sessions will cover themes such as regulatory, industry, and extension perspectives on crop safety; genetic diversity in human pathogen-plant interactions; programs currently breeding for crop safety; and opportunities for breeding strategies for food safety. Breakout sessions will culminate in a whitepaper to guide future research and funding. To register or submit an abstract, click here:

June 11 & June 13: California Good Ag Neighbors: The Produce-Livestock Interface Workshop (June 11, Holtville, CA and June 13, Stockton, CA)

Perhaps no issue in agriculture is as complex as that of the safety of fresh produce grown in the vicinity of
livestock and wildlife. Animal operations and fresh produce growers in California are among the most highly
regulated in the country but confusion often exists about what each community does to help keep our food safe. Join us for one of two workshops where food safety scientists, regulators, produce growers and livestock farmers can share what we already know about the produce safety-livestock interface and how we can leverage existing efforts to make food even safer.  Registration and information page:

June 11, 18, 25, & July 2: Upcoming Webinar Series

Registration will also open soon for a webinar series in “Overlaps in Food Quality Assurance and Food Safety Programs”.  The free webinars will be hosted live each Tuesday on these dates:  June 11, 18, 25, and July 2nd, 2019, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. They will be given by Drs. Erin DiCaprio, Linda Harris, and Luxin Wang. The four webinars include (1) Overview of food quality assurance and food safety programs (June 11), (2) Tools for quality control and control charts (June 18), (3) Microbiological testing and standards (June 25), and (4) Environmental monitoring programs (July 2).  Webinar registration page:
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