About DFSL


Establishment of the Dairy Food Safety Laboratory (DFSL) through collaborative efforts of the dairy industry and the School of Veterinary Medicine is recognized as unique in the world. The laboratory's mandate to provide consistent, rapid response, applied research on herd health and food safety questions as they arise only serves to further delineate the uniqueness of the program and its purpose.

Now that the efforts have expanded to include the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center (VMTRC) in Tulare, California, the mission of the DFSL and its personnel are perfectly matched. The applied and basic research efforts of the DFSL emphasize developing updated methods essential to managing the dairy production unit for animal health and well-being, public health, nutrient management and its financial well-being.


The Dairy Food Safety Laboratory concept and goals have been successfully implemented. The economic impact of this work is best exemplified by the savings to the California dairy industry provided through use of the J5 E. coli vaccine. It has been determined that the vaccine saves between $32.00 and $57.00 (total costs due to mastitis) per head when this vaccine is used in adult cows. Thus, a dairy using the vaccine and milking 1,000 cows receives an economic benefit of $32,000-$57,000 per year. A conservative estimation of overall savings to the California dairy industry is between $11-$24 million annually. Another area of research at the DFSL that has had an economic impact on the dairy industry involves antibiotic residue tests. The DFSL findings show that current antibiotic residue tests are flawed. Other areas of economic importance are expansion of the J-5 vaccine into calves and providing a solid educational foundation for dairy science and veterinary students. It is difficult to calculate the economic importance of this educational foundation but there is a positive impact.

Davis - Dairy Food Safety Laboratory

The Davis campus of the Dairy Food Safety Laboratory has provided teaching, laboratory and field experience to a total of 134 students since its inception in 1992. The kind of teaching provided includes undergraduate research laboratory rotations, graduate thesis work, post doctoral fellowships, workshops, individual student projects, high school work study, affirmative action, special programs, laboratory and field components of undergraduate courses, and continuing education and support for visiting scientists. The types of students ranged from high school students to medical professionals/university faculty members and is summarized by the following categories: 45 veterinary medical officers, 37 undergraduate students, 24 graduate students, veterinarians or veterinary medical students, 8 industry or veterinary practice personnel, 6 affirmative action students, 4 high school students, 4 physicians and/or visiting scientists, 3 high school educators, and 3 medical students.

The affiliation of many student's has evolved over time. Many have returned for additional training. Several other students continued to work in the laboratory after graduation until finding jobs in industry or returning to professional schools including Pharmacy school. To date, at least seven undergraduate students have been accepted into Veterinary school choosing food animal medicine as their career path, six at the University of California and one abroad. Three of five high school students repeated summer jobs in the laboratory and one high school graduate returned to Ireland after a summer to run the family Dairy. Additional students reversed the "normal flow" and returned from industry or veterinary practices to earn graduate degrees within the laboratory. In keeping with the unique character of the Davis campus, physicians, medical students, veterinarians, veterinary medicine students and food scientists were allowed to interface within the laboratory, forming many mutually beneficial collaborations.

Tulare - Dairy Food Safety Laboratory

This laboratory was started in October of 1996 and was officially dedicated on December 16, 1996. Paul Rossitto is the Staff Research Associate (career employee) who moved from Davis and works in the lab on a daily basis. He has a long history of research accomplishments, student/staff training, and collaborative activities.

We have several projects underway and have completed a number of projects that will result in technology transfer and publications. The Dairy Food Safety Lab in Tulare is now a site for conducting clinical vaccine trials due to the large presence of the dairy industry in Tulare County. Our location was chosen because of our ability to provide large numbers of animals quickly at the appropriate age and condition.

Each year, after their exposure to the DFSL in Tulare, Tulare High School interns decide to become food animal veterinarians and have gone on to UC Davis for their undergraduate training. All have expressed an interest in working for the DFSL at UC Davis. The end of the 1997-01 school year will have trained 14 new Tulare High School students trained at the VMTRC DFSL.

The Dairy Food Safety Laboratory recognizes the major contributions of our student force and is committed to continually providing student training for the dairy industry. We also have students from dairy programs at UC Davis, Cal Poly-SLO and Fresno State attending our program at the VMTRC DFSL.