Version II: Don’t eat poop, and if you do, cook it

The link in the previous story was wrong, but now corrected thanks to an eagle-eyed readerer.

french.dont.eat.poopHere’s another version about the latest don’t eat poop paper.

Consumers don’t buy leafy greens and other healthy supermarket produce anticipating the food might make their families sick. Or at least, they didn’t used to.

But high profile recalls of fruits and veggies seem to be a new normal in the American food landscape. The recalls follow outbreaks of foodborne illnesses caused by microbes like E. coli. These outbreaks can send unsuspecting veggiephiles rushing to the nearest toilet or, worse yet, the hospital. Some outbreaks can even result in deaths.

The average American is still unlikely to wind up at the emergency room after eating tainted produce. Still, outbreaks have major consequences for supermarkets and growers. After outbreaks, they must regain public trust or face possible financial ruin.

Of concern is how nearby farming practices can taint produce with bacteria. This can happen when farmers apply animal manure to fields near fresh produce. Tiny particles, including bacteria, may go airborne and drift to nearby fields. But scientists weren’t sure just how likely microbes can travel from manure application sites to downwind produce.

That is, until now. New field research out of Clarkson University in upstate New York is providing an answer. Shane Rogers, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, led a research team that looked into the issue. They measured how far common bacteria, including Salmonella and E. coli, are likely to travel downwind from manure application sites. They hoped to better understand how fresh produce might be contaminated by nearby animal agriculture practices.

“Our goal was to provide a logical framework to study this pathway,” Rogers said. This helped them make science-based recommendations for setback distances that protect human health.

The team used field data to understand how these bacteria travel from manure application sites to produce. The research lasted three years. They took samples at several distances from manure application sites and measured the presence of illness-causing bacteria.

The researchers used computer models to expand their understanding. “It is not possible to obtain measurements for every possible set of circumstances that may exist,” Rogers said. “The models allow us to predict produce contamination over a larger range of probable conditions than our raw measurements would provide.” These include the type of manure, the terrain of the farm, and weather conditions at the time the manure is applied.

The team also evaluated the risk of illness. This gave the team a better understanding of how likely someone is to get sick from produce when a certain amount of bacteria is present.

Combining all that data, the team found that produce fields should be set back from areas of manure application by at least 160 meters. That distance should help lower the risk of foodborne illness to acceptable levels (1 in 10,000).

Rogers emphasized that the advice is for a minimum setback. “(160 meters is) the minimum distance that produce growers should maintain between manure application activities and produce growing areas,” Rogers said. Additional distance and delay between manure application and harvest would provide further protection.

The study appears in Journal of Environmental Quality. This project was supported by National Research Initiative Competitive Grant and the Agricultural Food and Research Initiative (AFRI) from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Air Quality Program.

American Society of Agronomy

Michael A. Jahne, Shane W. Rogers, Thomas M. Holsen, Stefan J. Grimberg, Ivan P. Ramler, Seungo Kim

Journal of Environment Quality, 45 (2): Page 666 DOI:10.2134/jeq2015.04.0187

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160413140124.htm

Don’t eat poop, and if you do, cook it: Manure application research aims to improve food safety

New field research out of Clarkson University in upstate New York is attempting to answer how likely microbes can travel from manure application sites to downwind produce.

lettuce.skull.noroShane Rogers, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, led a research team that looked into the issue. They measured how far common bacteria, including Salmonella and E. coli, are likely to travel downwind from manure application sites. They hoped to better understand how fresh produce might be contaminated by nearby animal agriculture practices.

“Our goal was to provide a logical framework to study this pathway,” Rogers said. This helped them make science-based recommendations for setback distances that protect human health.

The team used field data to understand how these bacteria travel from manure application sites to produce. The research lasted three years. They took samples at several distances from manure application sites and measured the presence of illness-causing bacteria.

The researchers used computer models to expand their understanding. “It is not possible to obtain measurements for every possible set of circumstances that may exist,” Rogers said. “The models allow us to predict produce contamination over a larger range of probable conditions than our raw measurements would provide.” These include the type of manure, the terrain of the farm, and weather conditions at the time the manure is applied.

The team also evaluated the risk of illness. This gave the team a better understanding of how likely someone is to get sick from produce when a certain amount of bacteria is present.

Combining all that data, the team found that produce fields should be set back from areas of manure application by at least 160 meters. That distance should help lower the risk of foodborne illness to acceptable levels (1 in 10,000).

Rogers emphasized that the advice is for a minimum setback. “(160 meteårs is) the minimum distance that produce growers should maintain between manure application activities and produce growing areas,” Rogers said. Additional distance and delay between manure application and harvest would provide further protection.

 

McKenzie brothers can explain: ‘We recently found a whole mouse in an energy drink’

This week, Cynthia Mangione, a food laboratory specialist at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and Stephanie Brock, a radiation health supervisor at the Kentucky Department for Public Health, took to Reddit to answer questions about their jobs. They spend their days “testing products imported into the US for dangerous pathogens, as well as illegal dyes, metals, antibiotics and more.” Here are the three most surprising reveals:

mouse.beer2) The one food safety testers avoid eating: sprouts

I have given up sprouts because of ongoing concerns with their safety. We also make sure to wash ready-to-eat veggies (despite the “triple wash” designation).

According to the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety website, sprouts — such as alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts — are a higher-risk food. This is because they are eaten raw and, unlike other fresh produce, need to grow in warm and humid environments — the ideal breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. Washing them doesn’t always kill that potentially harmful bacteria.

Since 1996, there have been more than 30 outbreaks in the US associated with sprouts. In a recent analysis of food outbreaks in the US, sprouts were among the leading culprits.

3) The craziest thing they found in a food they tested…

We recently found a whole mouse in an energy drink!

Can’t really explain this one, but it’s pretty disturbing.

Where did the Listeria come from? US outbreak of listeriosis linked to Dole salads appears over

A couple of days after the Canadians wrapped up their investigation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its own final report on the Listeria outbreak linked to packaged salads produced at a Dole Processing Facility in Springfield, Ohio.

160122-dole-salad-mn-1530_8b681a6748a4253c3ec1c087b4cd8b0d.nbcnews-fp-1200-800CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis).

A total of 19 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria were reported from nine states.

All 19 people were hospitalized, and one person from Michigan died as a result of listeriosis. One illness was reported in a pregnant woman.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) performed on Listeria isolates from all 19 ill people showed that the isolates were closely related genetically.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, ill people in Canada were infected with the same outbreak strain of Listeria.

WGS performed on clinical isolates from ill people in Canada showed that the isolates were closely related genetically to Listeria isolates from ill people in the United States.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that packaged salads produced at the Dole processing facility in Springfield, Ohio and sold under various brand names were the likely source of this outbreak.

On January 27, 2016, Dole voluntarily recalled all salad mixes produced in the Springfield, Ohio processing facility. Any recalled salad mixes still on the market or in consumers’ homes would be past their expiration dates.

29 sick, 3 dead: Canadians wrap up Dole listeria investigation

Doug Carder of The Packer reports the Public Health Agency of Canada has wrapped up its investigation into a listeria outbreak linked to Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc.’s processing plant in Springfield, Ohio, that infected more than a dozen Canadians.

listeria4“Given that the source of the outbreak was identified and contaminated products have been recalled from the market, the outbreak investigation coordinating committee has been deactivated and the investigation is coming to a close,” according to a report posted on the Canadian health agency’s website regarding the investigation which began in late January.

The agency investigated 14 cases of Listeria monocytogenes in five Canadian provinces: Ontario (9), Quebec (2), New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1), according to the report. Individuals became ill between May 2015 and February, the agency reported.

“All cases have been hospitalized, and three people have died, however it has not been determined if listeria contributed to the cause of these deaths,” according to Public Health Agency of Canada’s final report.

Dole reported Jan. 21 to U.S. health officials with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it had suspended operations at the Ohio plant once it learned of the possible connection to the listeria outbreak. On Jan. 27, the company voluntarily recalled all Dole and private-label packaged salads produced there.

FDA confirmed Jan. 28 the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a packaged salad produced at the Springfield plant.

As of Feb. 25, the CDC had reported the outbreak had infected 18 people in nine states. All cases required hospitalization, according to CDC.

Laboratory results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed a link between recalled packaged salad products and the listeria outbreak in Canada, according to the report. Lab results “confirmed that the Canadian and U.S. listeria outbreaks are highly genetically related,” according to the Canadian health agency’s report.

While Canadian health officials have concluded their investigation, the U.S. investigation into the outbreak remains active, according to FDA.

It’s not the curves, it’s the oxygen groups: Viral attachment to produce

In an effort to understand and eventually reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses, University of Illinois researchers studied the ability of pathogenic viruses to adhere to fresh produce surfaces.

lettuce“We chose 24 of the most common salad vegetables in the U.S. and assayed them to see if there was any relationship between the morphology and chemistry of the leaf or fruit surface and the adherence of viral particles, before and after a washing treatment,” says U of I geneticist Jack Juvik.

The researchers inoculated leafy salad greens and tomatoes with a swine virus that mimics human rotavirus, a common pathogen responsible for diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. After exposing the vegetable surfaces to the virus, the researchers rinsed the vegetables twice with a standard saline solution.

“We correlated virus adherence to roughness of the surface at different scales. We also looked at the chemistry of the proteins and waxes associated with the leaf cuticle – a waxy layer that protects the plant against diseases and reduces water loss,” Juvik explains. “Before this, no one had tested the relationship between chemistry and surface texture on the adherence of virus particles.”

The researchers found a thousand-fold difference in the number of viral particles adhering to different types of leafy greens and tomatoes. Vegetables with three-dimensional crystalline wax structures on the leaf cuticle harbored significantly fewer virus particles after rinsing. This was counterintuitive, as it was expected that small virus particles could “hide” in the rough structures of these cuticles.

lettuce.nov10“I was surprised, too,” Juvik says. “But normally, viruses adhere to oxygen groups, like OH, which are associated with proteins and carbohydrates on the surface. When the wax completely covers the surface, it becomes totally hydrophobic, which renders the whole leaf surface harder for viruses to attach to. Furthermore, rinsing those leaves with water gives the viruses the OH groups they’re looking for, so they’re easier to wash away.”

Produce is exposed to viruses and other pathogens in a number of ways, including contaminated irrigation water, animal wastes, and handling by sick workers. But because salad vegetables are consumed fresh, pathogens cannot be killed by cooking or most other sterilization methods.

“Viruses are literally everywhere, causing many opportunities for infection. But the information from this study can be used down the road to select or breed for varieties that might have the capacity to reduce adherence of these particles,” Juvik explains.

The researchers have already repeated the study using the bacterium E. coli, but they plan to look at even more vegetable varieties and pathogens in future studies.

The article, “Influence of epicuticular physiochemical properties on porcine rotavirus adsorption to 24 leafy green vegetables and tomatoes” was published in PLOS One. The study was led by Lu Lu, whose co-authors included Juvik, Kang-Mo Ku, Sindy Paola Palma-Salgado, Andrew Page Storm, Hao Feng, and Thanh Nguyen, all from the University of Illinois. The project received funding from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

3 dead, 12 sick: Details on HUS outbreak in Romania

As at 29 February 2016, 15 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome with onset between 25 January and 22 February were reported among children between five and 38 months in Romania, and three of them died.

romania.foodCases were mostly from southern Romania. Six cases tested positive for Escherichia coli O26 by serology. Fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products were among the possible common food exposures. Investigations are ongoing in Romania to control the outbreak.

Early findings in outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome among young children caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Romania, January to February 2016

Euro Surveill. 2016;21(11):pii=30170

Peron E, Zaharia A, Zota L, Severi E, Mårdh O, Usein C, Bălgrădean M, Espinosa L, Jansa J, Scavia G, Rafila A, Serban A, Pistol A.

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=21417

Microbiologically safe missing in Whole Foods Responsibly Grown system

In what demented universe did Whole Foods become the arbiter of responsibly grown anything?

virtueThere’s no more “Good” “Better” and “Best” in the future of the Whole Foods Market Inc.’s Responsibly Grown rating system.

The Packer reports that in a recent blog post Edmund LaMacchia, global vice president of perishable purchasing for the Austin, Texas-based retailer outlined a five-point plan to simplify and improve the program for consumers and growers.

“We launched Responsibly Grown with the goal of creating a dynamic program that we would continuously evolve with our suppliers to address important agriculture issues affecting human health and the environment. Since we launched the programs in our stores, we’ve had a lot of productive dialogue with all of our stakeholders on how we can continue to enhance the program as we move it forward.”

I care primarily about the things that make people barf, so where’s the details on that, or just more hucksterism to make an extra buck?

Ranking risk: E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella growth on leafy greens

The objective of this work was to study the growth potential of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. in leafy vegetable extracts at different temperature conditions.

lettuce.nov10Cocktails of five strains of E. coli O157: H7 and of S. enterica were used. Inoculated aqueous vegetable extracts were incubated at 8, 10, 16 and 20°C during 21 days. Microbial growth was monitored using Bioscreen C® . In spinach extract, results showed that for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella significant differences (p<0.05) for μabs (maximum absorbance rate) were obtained. For both pathogens, growth in chard was slightly lower. In contrast, iceberg lettuce and parsley showed the lowest values of μabs , below 0.008 h-1 . The coefficients of variance (CoV) calculated for the different replicates evidenced that at low temperature (8 °C) a more variable behaviour of both pathogens is expected (CoV > 180%).

This study provides evidence that aqueous extracts from vegetable tissues can result in distinct growth niche producing different response in various types of vegetables.

Finally, these results can be used as basis to establish risk rankings of pathogens and leafy vegetable matrices with relation to their potential growth.

Assessing the growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in spinach, lettuce, parsley and chard extracts at different storage temperatures.

J Appl Microbiol. [Epub ahead of print]

Posada-Izquierdo G, Del Rosal S, Valero A, Zurera G, Sant’ Ana A, Alvarenga VO, Pérez-Rodríguez F

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26950043

 

How many people barf from poop on produce? FDA wants a risk assessment

Here’s one from the barfblog.com archives, and now that we’ve surpassed 70,000 direct subscribers in 70 countries, it’s worth a mention.

powell.kids_.ge_.sweet_.corn_.cider_.001-1024x775Oh, and FDA announced Friday it’s going to take another look at pathogens in produce from manure.

In the fall of 1998, I accompanied one of my then four daughters on a kindergarten trip to the farm. After petting the animals and touring the crops – I questioned the fresh manure on the strawberries that were about to be picked – we were assured that all the food produced was natural. We then returned for unpasteurized apple cider. The host served the cider in a coffee urn, heated, so my concern about it being unpasteurized was abated. I asked: “Did you serve the cider heated because you heard about other outbreaks and were concerned about liability?” She responded, “No. The stuff starts to smell when it’s a few weeks old and heating removes the smell.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is requesting scientific data, information, and comments that would assist the Agency in its plan to develop a risk assessment for produce grown in fields or other growing areas amended with untreated biological soil amendments of animal origin (including raw manure).

The risk assessment will evaluate and, if feasible, quantify the risk of human illness associated with consumption of produce grown in fields or other growing areas amended with untreated biological soil amendments of animal origin that are potentially contaminated with enteric pathogens, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella. The risk assessment also will evaluate the impact of certain interventions, such as use of a time interval between application of the soil amendment and crop harvest, on the predicted risk. The risk assessment is intended to inform policy decisions with regard to produce safety.

organic-manure1Dates: Submit either electronic or written comments and scientific data and information by May 3, 2016.

The instructions for how to submit comments are available in the Federal Register notice as is additional supplementary information:

Biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO) can be a source of contamination of produce with pathogens that can cause human illness. Human pathogens in BSAAO, once introduced to the growing environment, may be inactivated at a rate that is dependent upon a number of environmental, regional, and other agricultural and ecological factors. The rate of pathogen population decline over time is also influenced by the types of BSAAO and application methods. Furthermore, the types of produce and whether or not BSAAO may come into contact with a harvestable portion of the crop influences the likelihood of pathogen transfer from the amended soil to produce (Ref. 1).

Some produce farms use untreated BSAAO for various reasons, including that they are inexpensive, readily available, and rich nutrient sources for growing crops. Whether it is feasible for a farm to use untreated BSAAO as a principal nutrient source depends on numerous factors, including whether there is a required time interval between application and harvest and the length of such an interval (which may affect the nutrients retained or available from BSAAO), and crop nutrient demand (i.e., the nutrients needed to support crop growth). Typical examples of untreated BSAAO are raw cattle manure, poultry litter, swine slurry, and horse manure. FDA acknowledges that required application intervals for certain uses of untreated BSAAO could influence the number of crop cycles a farm is able to undertake each year and/or the choices farms make regarding which type of amendment to apply (e.g., raw manure, composted manure, or other nutrient sources).

In January 2013, based in part upon authority provided by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, we published a proposed Produce Safety Rule entitled “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” (78 FR 3504, January 16, 2013). Among other provisions related to BSAAO, the proposed rule included at § 112.56(a)(1)(i) (21 CFR 112.56(a)(1)(i)) a 9-month minimum application interval for untreated BSAAO applied in a manner that does not contact covered produce during application and minimizes the potential for contact with covered produce after application (78 FR 3504 at 3637). In response to public comments, we withdrew this proposed 9-month minimum application interval in a supplemental proposed rulemaking that we published on September 29, 2014 (79 FR 58434 at 58457 through 58461). In the supplemental proposed rule, we acknowledged the limited body of currently available scientific evidence relating to the proposed 9-month interval and the need for additional research in this area, and described our planned risk assessment and research agenda (79 FR 58434 at 58460 through 58461). Accordingly, we deferred our decision on an appropriate minimum application interval.

dont.eat.poopOn November 27, 2015, we published a final Produce Safety Rule entitled “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption,” (80 FR 74354). The final rule is now codified at 21 CFR part 112. In the preamble to the final rule, we restated our decision with respect to the appropriate minimum BSAAO application interval (80 FR 74354 at 74463). We reserved one of the provisions in the final rule’s Subpart F (Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin and Human Waste) because we continue to believe that a quantitative application interval standard is necessary and anticipate locating such a future standard in that provision. As finalized, the Produce Safety Rule establishes that there is no minimum application interval required when untreated BSAAO are applied in a manner that does not contact covered produce during or after application (§ 112.56(a)(1)(ii)), and the minimum application interval is [reserved] when applied in a manner that does not contact produce during application and minimizes the potential for contact with produce after application (§ 112.56(a)(1)(i))

FDA, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is conducting a risk assessment to evaluate the risk of human illness associated with the consumption of produce grown in growing areas amended with untreated BSAAO that are potentially contaminated with enteric pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella. The risk assessment will evaluate the impact of different agricultural and ecological conditions and certain interventions, such as use of a time interval or intervals between application of untreated BSAAO and crop harvest, on the predicted risk. The risk assessment will take into account available data and information on relevant steps in the produce food safety continuum including: The initial prevalence and levels of pathogens in untreated BSAAO; the methods used to apply untreated BSAAO to soils; pathogen survival (and growth) in untreated BSAAO and soils amended with untreated BSAAO; pathogen transfer to produce grown in amended soils; pathogen survival and growth on produce; and pathogen survival, growth, and cross-contamination during storage and other steps in the supply chain (e.g., washing). The risk assessment will include characterization of the variability and uncertainty of pathogen survival and growth under different agricultural and ecological conditions (e.g., soil types, application methods, or geographic locations/climatic factors) and time intervals between application of untreated BSAAO and crop harvest. The risk assessment is intended to inform policy decisions with regard to produce safety.

FDA is requesting comments and scientific data and other information relevant to this risk assessment. We are particularly interested in scientific data and information concerning, but not limited to, the following factors that may affect the risk of human illness associated with the consumption of produce grown in fields or other growing areas amended with untreated BSAAO (including raw manure):

  1. Data on the prevalence and levels of pathogens.
  2. The frequency of detecting the presence of pathogens in untreated BSAAO and soil amended with BSAAO, such as Salmonella in poultry litter, and E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogenic Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in cattle manure. Samples may be obtained at different stages of untreated BSAAO storage prior to application, or after application. If available, for each data point, we also invite information regarding the following:

The type of untreated BSAAO (e.g., animal origin and content);

how the untreated BSAAO, including raw manure, was sampled and handled prior to analysis;

the size of the analytical unit (i.e., detection limit) and test method;

the number of positives, the total number of samples, and the time period in which the testing was conducted; and sampling protocol (e.g., simple random, stratified random, targeted).

  1. The pathogen concentration, i.e., the number of pathogen cells per amount (unit volume or weight), in contaminated untreated BSAAO or soil amended with untreated BSAAO, especially cattle manure and poultry litter. If available, for each data point, we ask that the data be provided in unaggregated form and that Most Probable Number (MPN) patterns as well as raw data (e.g., number of positive and negative tubes per serial dilution) be provided.
  2. Data and information on survival of pathogens (e.g., Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7), and pathogen transfer to produce.
  3. Kinetic data that describe the survival (or inactivation) or growth of pathogens in untreated BSAAO, especially cattle manure and poultry litter;
  4. Kinetic data that describe the survival (or inactivation) or growth of pathogens in soil amended with untreated BSAAO, especially cattle manure and poultry litter, as influenced by soil type, untreated BSAAO type, application method, geographic locations/climatic factors (e.g., temperature, days of sunlight, intensity of solar irradiation, moisture, rainfall) and other factors;
  5. The mechanisms for pathogen transfer from soils to specific types or categories of produce, such as leafy greens, or to produce generally, and associated transfer coefficients, including irrigation and rain water splash, direct contact between produce and soil, machinery or people or animals contaminated by soil and directly contacting produce during growth and harvest of produce;
  6. Pathogen transfer rates (i.e., transfer coefficients) from amended soils to specific types or categories of produce, such as leafy greens, or to produce generally, as influenced by soil type, untreated BSAAO type, application method, climate factors, commodity type or any other pertinent factors not listed here;
  7. The survival of pathogens on produce in the field or other growing area before harvest; and
  8. The variability in the survival of different Salmonella serotypes, different subtypes of E. coli O157:H7, or other pathogens of public health significance in amended soils under field, greenhouse, or laboratory conditions.
  9. On-farm practices with regard to the use of untreated BSAAO, including, but not limited to, the following aspects.
  10. The extent to which untreated BSAAO are used in different regions in the United States, as well outside the United States in regions that export produce to the United States;
  11. The types of untreated BSAAO and the soil type, and associated physical and chemical parameters (including but not exclusive to nutrient content, moisture and pH); and the crops typically grown in each BSAAO-amended soil type;
  12. Characterization of the proportion of produce farms that have one or more soil types per geographical location;
  13. The amount of untreated BSAAO applied per unit surface (e.g., per acre) or the ratio of untreated BSAAO/soil, including typical ratio and variability by commodity type, including, for example, row crops such as leafy greens;
  14. The time of year, number of applications, and amount of untreated BSAAO that are applied;
  15. The method of application (e.g., surface, incorporated), and whether or not the amended soil is covered (e.g., with plastic mulch);
  16. Produce commodity type and cropping cycles;
  17. Climate conditions and irrigation practices after soil is amended, before and after planting; and
  18. The crop density (e.g., the number of rows per bed, and the distance between adjacent rows in a bed), distance between two crop beds (furrow width), and the influence of such factors on pathogen transfer.
  19. Harvesting, handling, and storage conditions that may affect pathogen detection and levels, survival, growth, or inactivation between harvest and retail sale along the farm-to-fork continuum.
  20. cow.poop2The harvesting practices and the average conditions as well as the range of climactic conditions prior to harvesting (e.g., time and temperature, rain events) under which produce is handled in the field and in packing operations;
  21. The survival, growth, or inactivation of pathogens on produce (including, for example, specific commodities or categories such as leafy greens, or produce generally) during transportation and storage;
  22. Typical storage conditions (e.g., time, temperature) for produce (including, for example, specific commodities or categories, such as leafy greens, or produce generally), from harvest until consumer purchase and whether and how those storage conditions affect pathogen levels; and
  23. The types and concentration of antimicrobial chemicals or other treatments, if any, applied to the water used for wash or transport of produce during farm or other distribution operations prior to retail, and the efficacy of these treatments in reducing pathogen levels, as well as the likelihood of cross-contamination during wash or transport.
  24. Storage conditions such as times and temperatures that may affect pathogen growth and/or survival during transportation and storage of produce in the consumer’s home, and consumer handling practices with respect to produce after purchase, including data and information on consumer washing practices.

We are also interested in other comments concerning, but not limited to, the types of untreated BSAAO, produce commodities, relevant agricultural and ecological conditions, and appropriate mitigation strategies that the Agency should consider in the risk assessment.

Reference

Food and Drug Administration, 2015. “Final Qualitative Assessment of Risk to Public Health from On-Farm Contamination of Produce.” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodScienceResearch/RiskSafetyAssessment/UCM470780.pdf. Accessed January 20, 2016.