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  1. FDA In Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA, California Agricultural Stakeholders Launch Multi-Year Study to Enhance Food Safety

November 19, 2020

Media Inquiries

  Courtney Rhodes
  (202) 281-5237

The following quote is attributed to Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response:

“The FDA is committed to providing innovative food safety approaches that build on past learnings and leverage the use of new information and data. Today we’re announcing a partnership 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 to improve food safety through enhanced understanding of the ecology of human pathogens in the environment that may cause foodborne illness outbreaks."

"The launch of this longitudinal study follows a series of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in recent years linked to California’s leafy greens production regions, particularly three outbreaks that occurred in Fall 2019. Due to the recurring nature of outbreaks associated with leafy greens, the FDA developed a commodity-specific action plan to advance work in three areas: prevention, response, and addressing knowledge gaps. We’ve already made great strides executing our 2020 Leafy Greens Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) Action Plan by engaging with state partners to implement new strategies for preventing outbreaks before they occur, collaborating with industry partners to assess and augment response efforts when an outbreak occurs, and analyzing past leafy greens outbreaks to identify areas of improvement important to enhance leafy greens safety."

"In alignment with the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative, the findings from this longitudinal study will contribute new knowledge on how various environmental factors may influence bacterial persistence and distribution in the region, and how those factors may impact the contamination of leafy greens.”

Additional Information:

  • The California longitudinal multi-year study will examine how pathogens survive, move through the environment and possibly contaminate produce, through work with water quality, food safety, and agricultural experts from CDFA, the WCFS, representatives from various agriculture industries, and members of the leafy greens industry.
  • The 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan (LGAP) contains a variety of actions the FDA, in partnership with a variety of stakeholders, will take to help ensure leafy green safety for consumers. While the year 2020 appears in the name of this action, plan our efforts will continue into 2021. The FDA continues to make progress conducting research to fill knowledge gaps and to inform science- and risk-based preventive measures, while also continuing to conduct regulatory activities to monitor the entire leafy greens supply chain to help ensure consumer safety.
  • The FDA continues to collaborate with all sectors of the leafy green industry to achieve the goals of the LGAP and to modernize our food safety system through the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


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