The USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative (NoroCORE) held its first Full Collaborative Meeting November 7-8, 2012, in Atlanta, GA. The first day of the meeting consisted of a general session dedicated to outlining the initiative’s Core Activities, highlighting NoroCORE Success Stories to date, and sharing Stakeholder Perspectives with the group as a whole. The second day of the meeting included a discussion-style Open Stakeholders’ Meeting, which allowed Stakeholders to interact with Collaborative team members, and opened a dialogue for Stakeholder needs and how NoroCORE can help to meet those needs. This was followed by a closed session for the formal Industry Advisory Council, and another session for the NoroCORE Executive Committee.
The general session provided an excellent overview of the Collaborative’s structure, goals, activities, and progress. Lead investigators from each of the six Cores presented overviews of the activity for each respective Core (Molecular Virology, Detection, Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Prevention and Control, Extension and Outreach, and Education and Capacity Building). The Success Stories session featured presentations on novel ligands for norovirus capture and detection, presented by Dr. Chris Diehnelt from Arizona State University; an assessment of Tulane Virus as a novel surrogate for norovirus, presented by Dr. Xi (Jason) Jiang of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; a description of the development of microarrays for detecting and typing food borne viruses, from Dr. Beatriz Quinones at the USDA; and a summary of the anti-norovirus efficacy of a levulinic acid + SDS -based sanitizer, from Dr. Jennifer Cannon of the University of Georgia. In combination, these sessions provided an excellent overview of the initiative’s structure and some of its early successes in tackling the food borne virus issue.
These sessions were followed by Stakeholder Perspective presentations. Representatives of the various government and industrial sectors involved with the NoroCORE effort had the opportunity to present the problems with norovirus as experienced by each respective sector, the specific challenges faced by that sector, and how NoroCORE could potentially help that sector handle the issue. Representatives spoke from the Fresh Produce Industry, State and Local Government, the Industrial Perspective-Testing, the EPA Perspective, the Retail Food Service Sector, the Retail Grocery Sector, the Industrial Perspective- Hand Hygiene, the Industrial Perspective- Sanitation, the Molluscan Shellfish sector, the Consumer Group Perspective, and the European Perspective. This session in combination with the following morning’s Open Stakeholders’ Meeting allowed Stakeholders and Collaborative Team Members to interact as a cohesive group, and fostered productive, open discussions of stakeholder needs. The results were extensive feedback and useful ideas for the direction to take with developing NoroCORE’s future collaborations and Stakeholder relationships. The NoroCORE team is working through the feedback to direct its approach to Stakeholder involvement, and will be communicating further details in the near future.
Thanks to all those who attended and contributed their time, expertise, and input.