eNewsletter, October-November-December 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

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


The Almond Conference | December 11, 2019 | Sacramento, CA

Linda J. Harris presented “Almond Food Safety:  Past, Present, and Future" at The Almond Conference, held December 10-12, 2019 at CalExpo in Sacramento.  

74th Annual Washington State Water Resources Association-Annual Conference | December 4-6, 2019 | Spokane, WA

Ronald F. Bond (pictured) presented “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: Microbial Water Quality Research in Washington State (2015-2019)” at the 74th WSWRA Annual Conference at the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington. This year the conference focused on such issues as water quality and efficiency and many other highlights. Bond presented a retrospective of WCFS research (2015-2020) in Washington State, particularly updates on the data sharing provision of Food Safety Modernization Act, sewage spill response and dye tracer studies, as well as highlighting the importance of relationship building between irrigation districts, growers and researchers, making the argument that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Global Water and Food Safety Summit | November 19 - 21, 2019 | College Park, MD

Michele Jay-Russell presented results from collaborative work with the University of Georgia-Tifton, Emory University and FDA’s Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) Program entitled Salmonella Diversity and Distribution in Irrigation Ponds, Irrigation Systems, and Produce on Farms in the Southern Georgia.” The presentation was part of a Plenary Session and panel discussion on Day 2:  Microbiology at the Interface of Environmental Sampling and Genomic Analysis: Leveraging the Power of Whole Genome Sequencing for Studying Environmental Enteric Pathogens. Linda J. Harris also attended the event as an invited participant.
A speaker panel, including Linda J. Harris, at the Pace International Postharvest Academy in Chile.

Pace International 3rd Postharvest Academy | October 9th, 2019 | Santiago, Chile

Linda J. Harris gave the presentation, “Water Quality and Environmental Monitoring – Elevating Food Safety in the Packinghouse” at the 3rd Postharvest Academy in Santiago, Chile, in October.  The Academy was sponsored by Pace International. 


Romaine lettuce growing in soil amended with animal-based compost under furrow irrigation at DREC

Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association Meeting | December 18, 2019 | Imperial, CA

Michele Jay-Russell joined Jairo Diaz, Director of the UCANR Desert Research and Extension Center (DREC) at the monthly meeting of the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association. They discussed past and current produce food safety research projects at DREC in collaboration with WCFS including a romaine lettuce field trial to study E. coli in soil amended with animal-based manure and compost.

3rd Annual CSU Extension Produce Safety Symposium | December 4, 2019 | Fort Collins, CO

The Colorado Produce Safety Collaborative sponsored the 3rd Annual CSU Extension Produce Safety Symposium at Colorado State University. This year’s theme addressed topics at the “Intersection of Produce Safety and Public Health.” Michele Jay-Russell shared research and outreach activities at WCFS related to soil amendments by webinar. Her presentation was entitled “Lessons from the Field: Microbial Food Safety of Biological Soil Amendments in Organic and Convention Agriculture."
Bennie Osburn, Haris Keremidis, and David Goldenberg stand outside WIFSS Headquarters on Drew Avenue for group photo.  Haris’s visit at WIFSS included a chance to enjoy an authentic Thanksgiving dinner with David’s family in El Dorado Hills.

Educational Training and Outreach with Sweden | November 11-29, 2019 | WIFSS

Haralampos (Haris) Keremidis, from the Swedish Board of Agriculture visited WIFSS, November 11-29, as part of 3-year project to observe how the Western Institute for Food Safety & Security addresses food safety and food security issues.  The Swedish Board of Agriculture is interested in studying how WIFSS conducts educational training and outreach activities in working with the food and agricultural industries and first responder agencies.

UC Almond Short Course | November 5 - 7, 2019 | Visalia, CA

Linda J. Harris traveled to Visalia, CA to present ""Food Safety Considerations" as part of the 3-day University of California Almond Short Course, 2019.  

10th US Symposium on Harmful Algae | November 3-8, 2019 | Orange Beach, AL

Ronald F. Bond traveled to attend the 10th US Symposium on Harmful Algae. The focus of the conference was on emerging Harmful Algal Blooms in the US, crossing the land-sea interface in temperate and subtropical zones in the face of climate change and shifting land uses that may exacerbate the challenges. Bond attended workshops on funding opportunities, capacity building and outreach messaging.

Second Meeting of the Higher Vocational Education International Alliance for Agri-Husbandry | October 14-16, 2019 | UC Davis

Representatives from seven colleges including China, the United States, Australia, and South Africa attended the governing council meeting of the Higher Vocational Education International Alliance for Agri-Husbandry (HVEIAA) held at the University of California, Davis, October 14-16, 2019. The meeting was sponsored by Jiangsu Agri-animal Husbandry Vocational College, (JAHAVC), and hosted by UC Davis WIFSS, and was under the direction of Wenlin Ji, Chairman of the Alliance and former President of JAHVC. Bennie Osburn, co-Chairman of the Alliance, hosted the 2-day event.  Ji and Osburn were joined by 12 members of the governing council who included Yingji Luo, Vice President of Guangxi Agricultural Vocational College; ChuanShi Zhang, Dean of the College of Animal Science and Technology at Chongqing Three Gorges Vocational College; Xuetai Li, President of Shandong Vocational Animal Science and Veterinary College; Kate Baxter, Regional General Manager, West Region TAFE NSW, Australia; and Albert Jordaan, Head of Projects, Maluti Technical Vocational Education and Training College of South Africa, (Maluti TVET). 

Dean Michael Lairmore, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, was the keynote speaker on Tuesday where he gave a presentation on “Promotion of a Global Partnership for Animal, Human & Environmental Health.”  Dean Lairmore’s inspirational presentation outlined approaches and goals needed to move forward in a coordinated way to meet the challenges facing animal agriculture. Here Dean Lairmore is seated with Chairman Wenlin Ji with delegates of the Council surrounding them during a break time in Gladys Valley Hall. 

Co-Chairman Bennie Osburn gave closing remarks and emphasized that the Alliance can play a role is educating vocational faculty to be global leaders in promoting a safe and sustainable food supply from the farm to the table. The urgency of a new approach of addressing the complex issues on a global basis are associated with issues such as alleviating poverty, recognition and control of new and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, providing safe foods on a global basis that will provide a sustainable food supply, and maintain a safe and healthy environment for animals and people throughout the world.  Educating undergraduate students about the interconnection between the health of people, animals, plants, and the environment is the cornerstone to solving the complex problems that threaten the health of our planet.

New  research grant to survey antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among bacteria in retail foods in Hawaii

WIFSS recently received a new grant from the FDA National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) program to survey antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among bacteria in retail foods in Hawaii. The project will investigate AMR in E. coli, Enterococcus, Campylobacter, and Salmonella in beef, pork, chicken and turkey and Vibrio spp. in shrimp, salmon and tilapia sold in the greater Honolulu metropolitan area. With assistance from collaborators at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, investigators of the project (Xunde Li, Rob Atwill, Maurice Pitesky, and Yanhong Liu)  will collect samples and metadata from retail stores in Honolulu. In addition to determine the prevalence of bacteria and their susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs, the study will also conduct whole genome sequencing (WGS) on bacterial isolates to identify resistant genes. Surveillance of AMR in retail food in the island state of Hawaii will increase the geographical representatives of the NARMS.

Michele Jay-Russell is quoted in the Washington Post article, "Why romaine lettuce keeps getting recalled for E.coli contamination" by Kimberly Kindy and Joel Achenbach, November 26, 2019.  Link to article

APHA One Health Newsletter | Winter 2019

Michael Payne and Michele Jay-Russell were invited to contribute an article for the One Health Newsletter of the Veterinary Public Health (VPH) Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Their write-up provided a re-cap of the California Good Ag Neighbor workshops this past summer. Read more: “Workshops Bring Farmers, Scientists and Regulators Together to Strengthen Produce Safety.”
For stakeholders that couldn’t attend the workshops, there are video recordings and handout materials at the California Good Agriculture Neighbors website, which also includes a summary of suggestions made by participants on future directions and efforts to promote produce safety. The video series can also be found as a playlist on a WIFSS YouTube channel.
Photo Source: Database of Foodborne Pathogens
Pires, A.F.A., L. Patterson., E. A. Kukielka, P. Aminabadi, N. Navarro-Gonzalez, and M.T. Jay-Russell. 2019. Prevalence and risk factors associated with Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella enterica in livestock raised on diversified small-scale farms in California. Epidemiol Infect. 147:e321.
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