Scientific Program




                                                                         PROGRAM AT A GLANCE


 VTEC 2018 Satellite Symposium

How can science and evidence help the authorities and food industry tackle the challange of STEC?

May 6, 2018 Congress centre, Florence, Italy

Symposium Organisers: Eelco Franz (RIVM, the Netherlands)

Norval Strachan (University of Aberdeen, Scotland)


Ever since the first outbreaks of STEC O157 in the early 1980’s food has been established as one of the primary vehicles for transmission of this group of pathogens. Unfortunately we still live in a world where there are outbreaks of STEC associated with food and it is likely that a significant number of sporadic cases are also foodborne. With improvements in diagnostic testing and the revolution of next generation sequencing we are now more able than ever to detect STEC and to characterise it genetically to the highest level possible. It is important to mobilise these advances together with developments in information technology to reduce the burden of this disease.

This satellite symposium will:

  • critique surveillance systems for STEC from animal reservoirs, to food to human cases in different parts of the world
  • analyse the risk and uncertainty with regards the pathogenicity of STEC strains and how the food authorities and industry are facing up to the challenges that this raises
  • consider what the food industry and food authorities can learn from 35 years of STEC outbreaks
  • gaze into the future to consider what developments are most likely to have the greatest impact on foodborne STEC cases.


How can science and evidence help the authorities and food industry tackle the challange of STEC?


11.00 - 12.00 Light Brunch

12.00 - 12.10 IntroductionNorval Strachan (Aberdeen Univ.; Scotland, UK)

Variability of STEC surveillance systems - Ingrid Friesema (RIVM, The Netherlands)

Increasing reporting rates of STEC in New Zealand and recent foodborne outbreaks - Helen Whiters (Ministry Primary Industries, New Zealand)

Industry perspective - Giovanni Sorlini (INACLA quality assurance, Italy)

14.00 - 14.30 Coffee Break

Risk and uncertainties in STEC testing in foods - different regulatory positions/definitions of STEC - Peter Feng (FDA, US)

E. coli - 25 years after Jack in the Box - Bill Marler (Marler Clark)

Window to the future (influence genomics on enforcement, metagenomic technologies etc) - Eelco Franz (RIVM, The Netherland)

15.45 - 16.00 Wrap up and conclusions