eNewsletter, January 2018
May 2017 | WCFS & WIFSS Newsletter
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We've been hard at work this month making food safer and more secure. Please have a look at where we've been. We hope you find it informative. Stop by our websites at either or Thank you for your continued support!

University of California, Davis


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

Melissa Partyka  was invited to present at the 2017 Washington State Water Resources Association in Spokane WA. Her 60-minute talk entitled Food Safety Modernization Act Update and Report on Irrigation Canal Sampling Study”, focused on not only how growers covered under the Produce Safety Rule can begin to prepare themselves for compliance ahead of future FDA announcements, but the roles irrigation districts can play in facilitating research. The audience was made up of over irrigators, lawyers, engineers, growers, and resource agencies interested in current water quality regulations and their potential impact on resource management.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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