eNewsletter, August-September 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


Arkansas Association for Food Protection Annual Conference | September 17 - 18th, 2019 | Fayetteville, AR

Linda J. Harris traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to present "Food Safety of Culinary Herbs" at the 11th Annual Conference for the Arkansas Association for Food Protection, an IAFP Affiliate.  
Group photo during field trip to Central Valley poultry facility where students learned about modern poultry production in the U.S.

Student Conference for One Health for Food Systems | August 12 - 30, 2019 | Davis, CA

The One Health for Food Systems Conference: Integrating Veterinary, Food, Animal and Agricultural Engineering Sciences held on campus, August 12 - 30, 2019, was attended by 30 undergraduate students from Nanjing Agricultural College (NAU).  The 3-week conference was sponsored by NAU and hosted by WIFSS.  The students represented the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Agricultural Engineering, Animal Science and Technology, and Food Science and Technology.  Two teachers from the College of Veterinary Medicine accompanied the students on the trip. Bennie Osburn, Chris Brunner, Sara Garcia, Heather Johnson, David Goldenberg, Greg Wlasiuk, Michele Jay-Russell, and Jim Cullor gave presentations, led team-building activities, and served as team facilitators during the conference.  Faculty from throughout the Davis campus including the School of Veterinary Medicine, Departments of Animal Science and Plant Sciences, and Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and from the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, (VMTRC), helped raise the student’s awareness of the interface between the health of people, animals, and the environment, including plants.

The students learned about the importance of applying a One Health approach to solving problems concerning food safety and security, and animal health. The comprehensive program which includes lectures, field trips, and team-building exercises raises student awareness for taking a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. This approach prepares them for careers which will promote progress towards safer, better quality food systems and healthy animals in China. The well prepared and enthusiastic students from Nanjing excelled at acquiring the concept of One Health and applying the concepts to the various problems chosen as their final team projects.  The five student teams chose as their presentations for the last day of the conference:  1) Ocean Pollution; 2) Greenhouse Gases of Cattle; 3) War Against E. coli, 4), Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Prevention and Treatment of Mastitis; and 5) The Bullfrog Story which highlighted the importance of food safety regulations at Hot Pot restaurants.   
Group Photo with faculty from Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College

Integrating One Health for Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences | August 5 - 13, 2019 | Davis, CA

The Integrating One Health for Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences conference held August 5 – 13, 2019, was hosted and coordinated by WIFSS and sponsored by Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College. The One Health conferences raise awareness of solving complex food safety through education, management, and application of technical services. Eighteen faculty from Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College participated in the conference.

Bennie Osburn led a panel discussion on transboundary diseases with Megan Dietz, MPH, and DVM Candidate, Class of 2022; Yitong Huang, MPVM; and Kathleen O’Hara, PhD Graduate Student Researcher in Epidemiology. They discussed Epidemiology’s role in mitigating the spread of African Swine Fever in China and the potential economic and health impacts of African Swine Fever on small rural farmers.
Bennie Osburn leads Panel Discussion on Transboundary Diseases with focus on ASF.  At the table are, from L to R, Megan Dietz, Kathleen O’Hara and Yitong Huang.

2019 AVMA Convention | August 2-6, 2019 | Washington, D.C.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) held its Annual Convention in Washington, DC this year.Michele Jay-Russell organized and moderated a Dr. James H. Steele One Health session sponsored by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine Continuing Education (CE) Committee. The five-hour session explored science, policy, and legal perspectives related to food safety on small-scale and organic livestock farms.  

Alda Pires from the UC Davis Department of Population Health and Reproduction and WCFS affiliate scientist, opened the session with a presentation entitled “Foodborne Pathogen Prevalence and Risk Factors on Small-Scale, Organic and Biodiverse Farms in California: Implications for Food Safety and Agritourism.” She was followed by William Marler from Marler Clark who spoke on potential liability in running herdshares and petting zoos, 
and Mary McGonigle-Martin who told a real-life story of her son’s illness after drinking contaminated raw milk. The session was wrapped-up with a talk by Valerie Koenig from USDA APHIS about the Animal & Public Health in Agritourism One Health Initiative, followed by a lively panel discussion with the audience.
View the full CE schedule here:


Tracey Stevens joins class members from All Hazards Preparedness classes in San Diego

All Hazards Training Taught in California and New York
| Sept. 8 - 9 | San Diego, CA -
 AWR 328 or MGT 448
| August 21 - 22, 2019 | Bethpage, NY - AWR 328 or MGT 448

Awareness level course providing tools to protect, respond to, and recover from the consequences of disasters e.g. fire, flood, heat, earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes, hazardous materials and catastrophic disease exposure involving animals in rural communities, took place this summer in San Diego, CA and across the country in Bethpage, NY.  Tracey Stevens taught AWR 328 All Hazards Preparedness for Animals in Disasters and MGT 448 All Hazards Planning for Animal, Agricultural, and Food Related Disasters in both locations. In Bethpage, agencies which took place in the training on August 21 and 22, included NY SPCA, NY City animal control and animal welfare, NY State Department of Agriculture, the American Red Cross, local fire prevention services, and CERT team leadership. Great support was provided by the various Long Island emergency managers and hosted at the Bethpage Joint Office of Emergency Services. 

In San Diego, nearly 30 participants completed the 2 days of training.  They included interagency personnel from the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), CAL OES, animal control services, military and maritime services, FDA, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), County Animal Response Team (CART), and the Department of Public Health.  The training was hosted by UASI.   

View upcoming offerings of disaster preparedness courses offered through the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC).
Sara Garcia, Krishna Balasubramaniam, and Pablo Gomez watch as Jennifer Chase says hello to a dairy cow.

Dairy Farm Worker Outreach | early August 2019 | Central Valley, CA

Jennifer Chase, a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Group of Epidemiology (GGE), led a team of three to a Central Valley dairy in early August, to recruit dairy farm workers as part of a multi-year effort to “Reduce Occupational Exposure to Zoonotic Pathogens in California Dairy Farm Workers.” Jennifer, who is not fluent in Spanish, enlisted the help from some folks with this skill set. Jose "Pablo" Gomez, a DVM and GGE Ph.D. student working with the Center for Animal and Disease Modeling and Surveillance and Sara Garcia, a project scientist with WIFSS joined Chase and Krishna Balasurbramaniam, a Behavioral Ecologist and post-doc working with Brenda McCowan, on this one-day recruitment mission. It took a real team effort to engage and enroll participants from an industry that is heavily regulated and scrutinized. This team exemplifies a key component of the One Health concept which takes an interdisciplinary approach to solve specific, complex problems that arise at the interface of animals, humans and the environment.  Collaboration among professionals with diverse specializations is a necessary element to finding solutions. For example, dairy level recruitment was made possible only after enlisting the help from Daniela Bruno, a DVM and UC Davis Farm Advisor covering Fresno and Madera counties. The project being led by Rob Atwill and Chase is a four-year project which aims to fill the gaps in occupational health and safety for zoonotic disease in California dairy farms, by quantifying microbial risk and evaluating transmission routes through contact patterns with dairy cows.  Pablo and Sara played an integral part of successfully enrolling over 80% of workers asked (n=34). Access to this pool of enrollees will make it possible to estimate exposure risks associated with specific job tasks.
Left to right: Richard Pereira; Luxin Wang; Peiman Aminabadi; Xiang (Crystal) Yang; Xunde Li; Katie Lee; Lutz Froenicke; Ruth Timme; Alec Michael; and Sarai Lillian Acosta.

FDA CFSAN GenomeTrakr Visit | August 2, 2019 | Davis, CA

On August 2, Ruth Timme from FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) visited the WIFSS. Timme is a Research Microbiologist who runs the GenomeTrakr program at the FDA. The purpose of her visit was to introduce the GenomeTrakr to the FDA NARMS site at the WIFSS. During her visit, Timme gave a presentation of the GenomeTrakr and its' applications and how to submit sequences of foodborne pathogens via the GenomeTrakr. The WIFSS NARMS team will perform whole genome sequencing of E. coliSalmonella and Campylobacter from retail meat samples starting from July 2019 and submit sequences via the GenomeTrakr. Timme also briefed and discussed with Peiman Aminabadi about the sequences submitted by the WCFS lab.

In addition to the NARMS team, Luxin Wang from Department of Food Science and Technology, Xiang (Crystal) Yang from Department of Animal Science, Richard Pereira from the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, Lutz Froenicke from the Genome Center, and students from Maurice Pitesky's lab also attend the meeting and discussed research using whole genome sequencing.


How to Assess and Manage Wildlife Intrusion Risk on Your Farm | September 4, 2019

Michele Jay-Russell was interviewed by Matthew Grassi from Growing Produce magazine. They discussed key ways that vegetable growers can identify and manage possible environmental sources of contamination with foodborne pathogens — such as intrusion and defecation by wild animals — to ensure public health concerns remain minimal. Read more:
The team of Luxin Wang, Michele Jay-Russell, and Yucheng Feng received a GRABIT Challenge Award from CPS

Center for Produce Safety GRABIT Challenge Award Recipients Announced | August 6, 2019

The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) has awarded three groundbreaking solutions-directed concepts to develop tools that can help growers identify and evaluate food safety risks posed by proximity to domesticated animal agriculture in the real world, in real time. Recipients included Luxin Wang (PI) from the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology and a WCFS affiliate scientist, Michele Jay-Russell (Co-PI) from WCFS and WIFSS, and Yucheng Feng (Co-PI) from Auburn University. The UC Davis-Auburn team is seeking to develop a field tool to detect a broad fecal indicator group (known as Bacteriodales) associated with all animals. For more information:
Jeamsripong S., Chase J.A., Jay-Russell M.T., Buchanan R.L., and Atwill ER. 2019. Experimental In-Field Transfer and Survival of Escherichia coli from Animal Feces to Romaine Lettuce in Salinas Valley, California. Microorganisms 2019, 7(10) 408.

Ramos T.M., Jay-Russell M.T., Millner P.D., Shade J., Misiewicz T., Sorge U.S., Hutchinson M., Lilley J., and Pires A.F.A. 2019. Assessment of Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin Use, Research Needs, and Extension Opportunities in Organic Production. Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 06 September 2019.
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