UC Davis Home Page

News and Information

UC Davis experts: E. coli

The University of California, Davis, has campus experts available to provide facts and commentary related to the bacteria E. coli and it's relationship to food safety and to agriculture.

Food safety and consumers

Relationship to agriculture


Post-harvest food safety

Trevor Suslow is a Cooperate Extension plant pathologist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Science whose research focuses on the postharvest quality of perishable produce. He can discuss possible sources of E. coli contamination in fruits and vegetables, how the bacterial disease might be transmitted to consumers and what industry is doing to prevent microbial contamination of crops. Contact: Trevor Suslow, UC Davis Plant Science Department, (530) 754-8313 or tvsuslow@ucdavis.edu

Tracking E. coli

Rob Atwill is a specialist in waterborne infectious diseases in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.  He is part of a team of UC and government scientists who are tracking the sources of E. coli O157:H7 in the Salinas Valley as part of a $1.2 million study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was designed before the recent E. coli outbreak associated with spinach. Contact: Rob Atwill, School of Veterinary Medicine at (530) 754-2154, ratwill@ucdavis.edu.

E. coli and food safety

Linda Harris is a Cooperative Extension food microbiologist in the Department of Food Science and Technology, and associate director of the UC Davis-based Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. Her laboratory conducts research on the food-borne pathogens Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Shigella, Campylobacter, and Listeria monocytogenes. She can discuss food-safety issues, especially those relating to the fruit, vegetable and nut industries, as well as consumer food-safety practices such as the best ways to wash fruits and vegetables. Contact Linda Harris at (530) 754-9485 or 757-5767, ljharris@ucdavis.edu

Consumer attitudes

Christine Bruhn is a UC Davis food-science marketing specialist, director of the UC Davis Center for Consumer Research and a national expert on consumer attitudes about food. She can discuss public opinion on food safety and how consumers can best guard against food-borne illnesses. Contact: Christine Bruhn, UC Davis Food Science and Technology Department, (530) 752-2774, cell (530) 219-2888, cmbruhn@ucdavis.edu.


E. coli’s impact on agriculture

Daniel Sumner is the Frank H. Buck, Jr. professor of agricultural and resource economics in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and director of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center, based at UC Davis. Sumner specializes in national and international agricultural policy.  He can discuss the impact of the E. coli outbreak on agricultural in California and throughout the United States. Contact: Daniel Sumner, Agricultural Issues Center, (530) 752-1668 or dan@primal.ucdavais.edu.

Conventional and organic agriculture

Karen Klonsky is a Cooperative Extension economist who specializes in farm business management issues, including organic agriculture. She can discuss the implications of the E. coli outbreak for California’s farmers.  Contact: Karen Klonsky, Ag. and Resource Economics, (530) 752-3563, klonsky@primal.ucdavis.edu.

E. coli and the fresh-produce industry

Roberta Cook is a Cooperative Extension economist, who focuses on fresh-produce marketing, food distribution and international trade in fruits and vegetables. She can discuss the long- and short-term impacts of the recent E. coli outbreak on the fresh-produce industry.  Contact Robert Cook, Ag. and Resource Economics, (530) 752-1531, cook@primal.ucdavis.edu.

Media contact:

Top of pageTop of page

Last updated Jan. 7, 2013