FDA Launches Study of Foodborne Pathogens in Partnership with Californian Stakeholders
On November 19, 2020, the FDA announced that it was partnering with 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 to launch a multi-year longitudinal study of the ecology of human pathogens in the environment that may cause foodborne illness outbreaks.
This study continues FDA’s efforts to carry out its 2020 Leafy Greens Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) Action Plan, which was released in March of 2020 in response to a series of E coli 0157:H7 outbreaks in recent years. The Action Plan calls for the FDA to work collaboratively with industry and other regulatory partners to address knowledge gaps regarding leaf green safety as well as to work on prevention and outbreak response. In furtherance of the Action Plan’s goals to address gaps in knowledge, the study will examine how pathogens survive and move through the environment and possibly contaminate produce by collecting and analyzing samples from the environment, including adjacent land, well and surface waters, and soil inputs that include compost, dust, and animal fecal samples.
FDA expects that this study as well other initiatives launched pursuant to the Action Plan will continue into 2021. Keller and Heckman will continue to report on the Action Plan and other developments regarding foodborne illness.