( File photo )

Two workshops are bringing members of the fresh produce and livestock industries together to start a dialogue that could be beneficial in preventing foodborne illness outbreaks.

The program, called Good Ag Neighbors, is through a partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the University of California and the Food and Drug Administration. Its mission is to bring fruit and vegetable growers, livestock owners and others to learn about how produce safety and livestock management practices can work jointly to promote food safety, according to a CDFA news release.

The first is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 11 at the Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville, Calif. The second is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 13 at the Robert J Cabral Ag Center, Stockton, Calif.

“Agriculture is complex,” CDFA secretary Karen Ross said in the release. “This is particularly true in California where diverse agricultural operations often exist side-by-side with each of them required to comply with a myriad of regulations designed to protect the public, the environment and the food supply.”

Livestock operations and how they might affect produce growers became an area of interest when the FDA in 2018 found E. coli in an irrigation canal that went by a cattle feeding operation near Yuma. The same strain of E. coli had been identified as the cause of five deaths and 200 illnesses in an outbreak linked to leafy greens.

The workshops will address what’s been learned from that outbreak and two others linked to leafy greens, according to the release, as well as future research needs.

The University of California-Davis Western Institute for Food Safety and Security is conducting the workshops, which will include presentations by researchers and industry representatives. The morning session will address regulations and practices already in place and the afternoon session will use breakout groups to examine how to leverage those practices, according to the release.
The workshops are free, but registration, which can be done online, is required.