Recommendations to Regulations: Managing Wildlife and Produce Safety on the Farm

  • Gretchen L. Wall
  • Elizabeth A. BihnEmail author
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Successful fruit and vegetable production requires produce growers to not only have keen business acumen, but also a vast knowledge of science and agriculture, adaptability to changing farm and environmental conditions, an understanding of produce safety practices, and often times, sheer determination and dedication to rigorous labor. One long-standing and frustrating challenge for produce growers is managing wildlife on fruit and vegetable farms in an effort to protect crops from damage and preserve a full harvest to take to the market. In the last 15 years, however, focus regarding wildlife on farms has shifted to produce safety risks that may result from the presence of wildlife fecal material in produce fields and packinghouses. With buyer requirements for produce safety practices and the first-ever federal regulation of fruits and vegetables on the horizon, growers need to understand and implement food safety practices on the farm, including managing wildlife concerns to reduce risks, and make critical decisions to ensure their farm’s long-term viability.


Food regulation Food Safety Modernization Act Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Produce safety Produce Safety Alliance U.S. Food and Drug Administration Wildlife Domesticated animals 


  1. American Cancer Society (2014) Cancer facts & figures 2014. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, GA. Accessed 30 October 2014
  2. Anderson A, Lindell C (2013) Bird damage to select fruit crops: the cost of damage and benefits of control in five states. Crop Prot 52:103–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnade C, Calvin L, Kuchler F (2010) Consumers’ response to the 2006 foodborne illness outbreak linked to spinach. USDA Amber Waves. Accessed 30 Oct 2014
  4. Baldwin RA, Salmon TP, Schmidt RH et al (2012) Wildlife pests of California agriculture: regional variability and subsequent impacts on management. Crop Prot 46(2012):29–37Google Scholar
  5. Baumgartner JA, Runsten D (2013) Farming with food safety and conservation in mind. Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) Accessed 30 Oct 2014
  6. Beuchat LR (2002) Ecological factors influencing survival and growth of human pathogens on raw fruits and vegetables. Microbes Infect 4:413–423CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Beuchat LR (2006) Vectors and conditions for pre-harvest contamination of fruits and vegetables with pathogens capable of causing enteric diseases. Brit Food J 108:38–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhupathiraju SN, Wedick NM, Pan A et al (2013) Quantity and variety in fruit and vegetable intake and risk of coronary heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr 98:1514–1523CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Bihn EA, Gravini RB (2006) Role of good agricultural practices in fruit and vegetable safety. In: Matthews KR (ed) Microbiology of fresh produce. ASM Press, Washington, DC, pp 21–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA) (2011) Commodity specific food safety guidelines for the production and harvest of lettuce and leafy greens. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  11. Chapman B, Kreske A, Powell D (2012) Crisis management: how to handle outbreak events. Food Safety Magazine, June/July 2012. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  12. Conover M (2002) Resolving human–wildlife conflicts: the science of wildlife damage management. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  13. Dickman AJ (2010) Complexities of conflict: the importance of considering social factors for effectively resolving human–wildlife conflict. Anim Conserv 13:458–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fleming P, Pool W, Gorny J (eds) (2005) Commodity specific food safety guidelines for the melon supply chain, 1st edn. Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association. Accessed 4 Sept 2014
  15. Florida Administrative Code (2007) Rule 5G-6: tomato inspection. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  16. Gelting RJ, Baloch MA, Zarate-Bermudez MA et al (2011) Irrigation water issues potentially related to the 2006 multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with spinach. Agric Wat Manag 98(9):1395–1402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gombas DE (2013) Produce GAPs harmonization: the goal is in sight. Food Safety Magazine. Accessed 29 Oct 2014
  18. Gorny J (2006) Microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables. In: Sapers GM, Gorny JR, Yousef AE (eds) Microbiology of fruits and vegetables. CRC, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, pp 3–32Google Scholar
  19. Gorny J, Giclas H, Gombas D, Means K (eds) (2006) Commodity specific food safety guidelines for the lettuce and leafy greens supply chain, 1st edn. International Fresh Cut Produce Association, Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, and Western Growers. Accessed 4 Sept 2014
  20. Hardesty SD, Kusunose Y (2009) Growers’ compliance costs for the leafy greens marketing agreement and other food safety programs. UC small farm program research brief. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  21. Harris LJ, Farber JN, Beuchat LR et al (2003) Outbreaks associated with fresh produce: incidence, growth, and survival of pathogens in fresh and fresh-cut produce. Comp Rev Food Sci Food Saf 2:78–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harris LJ, Bender J, Bihn EA et al (2012) A framework for developing research protocols for evaluation of microbial hazards and controls during production that pertain to the quality of agricultural water contacting fresh produce that may be consumed raw. J Food Prot 75(12):2251–2273CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Harris LJ, Berry ED, Blessington T et al (2013) A framework for developing research protocols for evaluation of microbial hazards and controls during production that pertain to the application of untreated soil amendments of animal origin on land used to grow produce that may be consumed raw. J Food Prot 76(6):1062–1084CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Western Growers Association and Intertox Incorporated (2010) Commodity specific food safety guidelines for the production, harvest, post-harvest, and valued-added unit operations of green onions. Accessed 4 Sept 2014
  25. Jay MT, Cooley M, Carychao D et al (2007) Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Feral Swine near Spinach Fields and Cattle, Central California Coast. Emerg Infect Dis 13:1908–1911CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Jay-Russell MT, Hake AF, Bengson Y et al (2014) Prevalence and characterization of Escherichia coli and Salmonella strains isolated from stray dog and coyote feces in a major leafy greens production region at the United States-Mexico border. PLoS One 9(11), e113433CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Jeamsripong S, Jay-Russell M, Carabez JA et al (2013) Simulation of wildlife fecal contamination of Romaine lettuce by indicator Escherichia coli. Poster presented at the IAFP annual conference, Charlotte, NC, 31 July 2013Google Scholar
  28. Laidler MR, Tourdjman M, Buser GL et al (2013) Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with consumption of locally grown strawberries contaminated by deer. Clin Infect Dis 57:1129–1134CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Langholz J, Jay-Russell M (2013) Potential role of wildlife in pathogenic contamination of fresh produce. Hum Wild Interact 7:140–157Google Scholar
  30. Lowell K, Langholz J, Stuart D (2010) Safe and sustainable: co‐managing for food safety and ecological health in California’s Central Coast Region. The Nature Conservancy of California and the Georgetown University Produce Safety Project, San Francisco, CA. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  31. Lynch MF, Tauxe RV, Hedberg CW (2009) The growing burden of foodborne outbreaks due to contaminated fresh produce: risks and opportunities. Epidemiol Infect 137(3):307–315CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (2014) Conservation innovation grants fiscal year (FY) 2014 Announcement for program funding. Accessed 31 Oct 2014
  33. Nielsen EM, Skov MN, Madsen JJ et al (2004) Verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli in wild birds and rodents in close proximity to farms. Appl Environ Microbiol 70(11):6944–6947CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. North American Tomato Trade Work Group (NATTWG) (2008) Commodity specific food safety guidelines for the fresh tomato supply chain, 2nd edn. Accessed 4 Sept 2014
  35. Park S, Szonyi B, Gautam R et al (2012) Risk factors for microbial contamination in fruits and vegetables at the pre-harvest level: a systematic review. J Food Prot 75:2055–2081CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Produce Safety Project (2009) Executive summary: implications of mandatory safety standards, 5 Mar 2009. Accessed 10 Oct 2014
  37. Produce Safety Project (2010) Executive summary: stakeholders’ discussion series. February 19–April 27, 2010. Accessed 10 Oct 2014
  38. Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) (2012) Farm focus group summary. Accessed 10 Oct 2010
  39. Sanderson MW, Sargeant JM, Shi X et al (2006) Longitudinal emergence and distribution of Escherichia coli O157 genotypes in a beef feedlot. Appl Environ Microbiol 72:7614–7619CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. Sivapalasingam S, Friedman CR, Cohen L, Tauxe RV (2004) Fresh produce: a growing cause of outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States, 1973 through 1997. J Food Prot 67:2342–2353CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Strawn LK, Fortes ED, Bihn EA et al (2013) Landscape and meteorological factors affecting prevalence of three food-borne pathogens in fruit and vegetable farms. Appl Environ Microbiol 79(2):588–600CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Taylor MR (2013) Let’s keep talking and listening about food safety. FDA voice blog – May 6, 2013. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  43. Terry L (2011) Oregon confirms deer droppings caused E. coli outbreak tied to strawberries. The Oregonian. Accessed 9 Oct 2014
  44. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2011) FSMA facts: background of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Accessed 20 Sept 2014
  45. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2013a) Proposed standards for the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce for human consumption. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  46. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2013b) Analysis of economic impacts – standards for the growing, harvesting, packing and holding of produce for human consumption. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  47. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2013c) Draft qualitative assessment of risk (QAR) to public health from on-farm contamination of produce.!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0001. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  48. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2014a) Supplemental for the proposed rule for produce safety.!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0973. Accessed 19 Sept 2014
  49. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2014b) Environmental impact statement (EIS) for the FSMA proposed rule for produce safety, 5 Aug 2014. Accessed 9 Sept 2014
  50. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (1998) Guidance for industry: guide to minimize microbial food safety hazards for fresh fruits and vegetables. Accessed 1 Sept 2014
  51. United Fresh Produce Association (2010) Letter to the Senate: S.510 of the Food Safety Modernization Act. November 18, 2010. Accessed 30 Oct 2014
  52. United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statistics by State – as reported by the Washington Field Office (2007) Census of agriculture. Accessed 1 Sept 2014
  53. VerCauteren KC, Seward NW, Hirchert DL et al (2005) Dogs for reducing wildlife damage to organic crops: a case study. In Nolte DL, Fagerstone KA (eds) Proceedings of the eleventh wildlife damage management conference. National Wildlife Research Center, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, pp 286–293Google Scholar
  54. Wang G, Zhao T, Doyle MP (1996) Fate of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 in bovine feces. Appl Environ Microbiol 62:2567PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Food ScienceCornell UniversityGenevaUSA

Personalised recommendations