eNewsletter, October-December 2020
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

We at WIFSS and WCFS wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season and prosperity for the new year.
May your holiday season be foodborne pathogen free!

To assist you, please check out these resources for holiday food safety: 

Best wishes from all of us at WIFSS and WCFS


Produce Safety Western Regional Meeting | December 15-17, 2020 | Virtual

Michele Jay-Russell was invited to the Produce Safety Western Regional Meeting sponsored by the State of Alaska and Idaho State Department of Agriculture. She was asked to provide updates on WCFS research and outreach related to biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO) and longitudinal studies being conducted in California as part of FDA’s 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan. She also joined Q&A panels on Days 2 and 3 of the meeting. Speakers and participants were from a range of federal, state, and academic organizations involved with implementation of FDA’s FSMA Produce Safety Rule including the FDA Produce Safety Network, the Produce Safety Alliance, state departments of agriculture, and university extension and outreach programs in the western United States.
WSWRA Virtual Conference (picture from top L to R) Tom Myrum-Executive Director (WSWRA); Ronald Bond (WCFS); (Bottom L to R) Justin Harter (NSID); Gregory Goblick (FDA)

74th Annual Washington State Water Resources Association Meeting | December 3, 2020 | Virtual

Ronald F. Bond and Justin Harter from Naches-Selah Irrigation District presented “Food Safety: What’s in the Water: Collaboration to understand water quality challenges” Part I” at the WSWRA Annual Conference. This year the conference focused on such issues as water quality and food safety, training for directors and others on Open Public Meeting Act and the Public Records Act and many other highlights. Bond and Harter highlighted the importance of water quality research and stakeholder engagement with not just WCFS researchers but also others that might be calling. Part two of this series was entitled “2019 Yakima Dye Studies” and was given by Greg Goblick of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition-Office of Food Safety, this presentation focused on a using dye tracer studies to model potential sewage releases into irrigaitno water supplies. This project was a collaborative effort between WCFS researchers in the Atwill Laboratory (Rob Atwill and Ronald Bond) and Gregory Goblick and Yaping Ao of FDA as well as Justin Harter from Naches-Selah Irrigation District.

Annual Conference and Industry Day | Australia & New Zealand | November 24, 2020 | Virtual

Michele Jay-Russell was invited as a Distinguished Guest Speaker at the research and industry partners annual conference in Australia. This year, the conference was held virtually by Zoom and included sessions on pre- and post-harvest fresh produce food safety, postdoctoral scholar updates, and industry innovations. Jay Russell’s presentation entitled “Intrusions and the Livestock-Wildlife Interface" complemented a successful collaboration with colleagues at University of Sydney that resulted in a recently published extension brochure on the topic.
The conference was sponsored by the ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry, the Sydney Institute of Agriculture and the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia and New Zealand. ARC conducts industry-focused research to develop practical solutions to prevent or minimize food safety risks in fresh produce across the value chain, and train the next generation of industry-ready food safety researchers. ARC is funded by the Australian Government and industry partners, and administered by the University of Sydney.
Recordings of the conference can be viewed here.

89th Annual National Water Resources Association Conference | November 9, 2020 | Virtual

Ronald F. Bond was invited to present at the National Water Resources Association Annual Conference in the Irrigation Caucus sessions. His presentation was entitled “Food Safety Modernization Act and Water Management: Partnership and Research in Action”, which focused on updates to FSMA and what water management can do to help growers and producers mitigate water quality risks based on lessons learned from WCFS water quality research along the irrigation water continuum.

Pacific and Mountain West Nutrient Cycling, Soil Health and Food Safety Zoom Conference | October 27-29, 2020 | Virtual

Nutrient cycling and recycling, fate and transport of nutrients across multiple landscapes of agriculture, and food safety related to water irrigation management were the focus of this conference. Michele Jay-Russell gave an invited presentation in the  Compost, Biosolids and Chars track on Food Safety on Thursday entitled “Biological Soil Amendments in Organic and Conventional Agriculture.”

The conference was hosted by Washington State University in partnership with Oregon State University, Montana State University, Utah State University, University of Idaho, and USDA. Funding was provided by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

Recordings of conference presentations are available here.

Southern Region Integrated Produce Safety Conference (SRIPS) October 7, 2020 | Virtual

Ronald F. Bond was invited to present at the Southern Region Integrated Produce Safety Conference. His presentation entitled “Variability of Microbial Water Quality: Experiences from the Field” focused on current WCFS research in the Deep South (Mississippi and Alabama) and how the research they have conducted in the western US can be applied to mitigating water quality risks in underserved and resource limited areas of the South.


Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association Monthly Meeting | December 16, 2020 | Virtual

Jairo Diaz and Michele Jay-Russell provided jointly an update to the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association (IVVG) members related to food safety research at the UCANR Desert Research and Extension Center (DREC).  Diaz, Director of DREC, and Jay-Russell are collaborating on experimental romaine lettuce field trials to evaluate the safe use of biological soil amendments in the southwest desert.
Ronald Bond (WCFS) demonstrates water sampling to workshop participants

Mobile Farm Innovation Project Pilot Workshop | AL/GA/MS | December 5, 2020 |
Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance Demonstration Farm, Okolona, MS


Ronald F. Bond (pictured above) participated in the inaugural “Mobile Farm Innovation Project” pilot workshop. The focus of his participation was educating growers about the importance of water quality and best practices for sampling their irrigation water. This program uses trailers to bring hands-on training to socially disadvantaged, limited resource and minority farmers. Other topics included were food safety, conservation, and computer literacy.  This effort is a collaboration between the Local Food Safety Collaborative, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Deep South Food Alliance, Alabama A&M University Small Farms Research Center, Fort Valley University and Alcorn State University.

24th Annual Fresh Cut Products Workshop | Nov-Dec., 2020 

Linda J. Harris presented "Raw Agricultural Commodity & Fresh Cut Operation Environmental Monitoring Protocols" at the 2020 Fresh Cut Products: Maintaining Quality & Safety Workshop, held live via Zoom over the span of 5 weeks during November and December, 2020.  

This annual workshop held by the UC Postharvest Center provides an intensive and substantive overview of fresh-cut production, processing, packaging, distribution and quality assurance to all levels of fresh-cut produce industry professionals. 53 people are enrolled for the virtual session.  

In 2020, the workshop also features discussions on fresh-cut marketing, new packaging, product physiology, microbial control, and sensory evaluation, as well as practical demonstration of the impact of temperature on packaged product quality.

Cracking the Code of Seasonality in Leafy Green Outbreaks: PMA Town Hall | November 18, 2020 | Virtual

This Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Virtual Town Hall looked at leafy green outbreaks and research that is being conducted on the factors contributing to these outbreaks  The panel was led by Trevor Suslow, PMA’s Vice President of Produce Safety, and featured Jim Brennan, President of SmartWash Solutions, Michele Jay-Russell, who is a Research Microbiologist at the University of California, Davis, Kristen Pogreba-Brown, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Arizona, and Neva Cochran, who is a Nutrition Communications Consultant.

Read more in HortiDaily.

Honey Bees Need Veterinarians, Too | by Sara N. Garcia | December 16, 2020


Honey bees play a critical role in agricultural production and pollinate roughly one-third of all food eaten in the United States, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds. Safeguarding their health is of the utmost importance. Veterinarians play an important role in maintaining animal health of many species to ensure that people have plentiful, safe, and nutritious food. As a food producing animal, honey bees are included! The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) at UC Davis has teamed up with Elina Niño and Bernardo Niño at UC Davis E.L. Niño Bee Laboratory, Jonathan Dear at UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, and Ramesh Sagili at Oregon State University Honey Bee Laboratory to create a new course designed to educate veterinarians in treating diseases of honey bees through an award from the USDA Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. The program is composed of an asynchronous online course and a hands-on, in-person training workshop, and qualifies for continuing education units for veterinarians. Participants can take the online course at any time at their own pace. The online portion is a prerequisite for the in-person training. The in-person training will be postponed due to COVID-19 and will be available when permitted and conditions are safe.
If you are interested in more information or enrolling in this course, please pre-register by completing our online survey. You will be added to our mailing list and will be contacted when registration opens in early 2021.
Full story:

FDA Partners with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Western Center for Food Safety, and California Agricultural Stakeholders to Enhance Food Safety | November 19, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing the launch of a multi-year study to improve food safety through enhanced understanding of the ecology of human pathogens in the environment that may cause foodborne illness outbreaks. This initiative is being launched with partners including the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the University of California, Davis, Western Center for Food Safety (WCFS), and agricultural stakeholders in the Central Coast of California. 

Read the full story here:
UC Davis researchers examined the prevalence of foodborne pathogens on meat and produce at Northern California certified farmers markets. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Low Food-Safety Risk at Northern California Farmers Markets | November 16, 2020

A new study by University of California, Davis, researchers finds a low risk of contamination of foodborne pathogens on produce and meat at Northern California certified farmers markets, but still finds cause for some concern. 

The study was conducted by WCFS/WIFSS team members Michele Jay-Russell, and  Alda Pires, and co-authors James Stover, Esther Kukielka, Viktoria Haghani, Peiman Aminabadi, and Thais De Melo Ramos, all from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and Julia Van Soelen Kim of UC Cooperative Extension North Bay.

The study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, examined the prevalence of Salmonella on meat and produce, as well as the prevalence of generic E. coli on produce.  

Read the full story, which was featured in UC Davis News:

Feng, Y., V. M. Lieberman, J. Jung, and L. J. Harris. 2020. Growth and survival of foodborne pathogens during soaking and drying of almond (Prunus dulcis) kernels. J. Food Prot. 83(12):2122-2133.

Pires, A. F. A., J. Stover, E. Kukielka, V. Haghani, P, Aminabadi, T. de Melo Ramos, and M. T. Jay-Russell. 2020. Salmonella and Escherichia coli prevalence in meat and produce sold at farmers' markets in Northern California. J. Food Prot. 83(11):1934-1940.

Pires, A. F. A., E. Kukielka, V. Haghani, J. K. Stover, T. de Melo Ramos, J. Van Soelen Kim,  and M. T. Jay-Russell. 2020. Survey of Farmers Market Managers in California: Food Safety Perspectives. J. Ext. 58(5):v58-5a7. 
Copyright © 2017 WCFS/WIFSS, All rights reserved.
Funding for this newsletter was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant (2 U19 FD 004995). Views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.

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