Category Archives: water activity

Research – Legionnaires’ disease – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2020 Research –


CDC legionella

Executive summary

  • Legionnaires’ disease remains an uncommon and mainly sporadic respiratory infection with an overall notification rate of 1.9 cases per 100 000 population for the EU/EEA in 2020.
  • A small decrease in the annual notification rate was observed, down from the 2.2 cases per 100 000 population reported in 2019.
  • Notification rates remained heterogenous across the EU/EEA, varying from fewer than 0.5 cases per 100 000 population to 5.7 cases per 100 000 population, with the highest rate reported by Slovenia.
  • Four countries (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) accounted for 72% of all notified cases.
  • Males aged 65 years and older were most affected (7.1 cases per 100 000 population).
  • The number of reported cases to the travel-associated surveillance scheme decreased by 67% in 2020 compared with 2019.
  • Only 10% of cases were culture confirmed (10%), likely leading to underestimation of disease caused by Legionella species other than Legionella pneumophila.

USA – Welcome to the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder!


Thank you for choosing to use the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder. The Agricultural Water Assessment Builder v. 1.0 is a user-friendly tool designed to help farms understand the proposed requirements for an agricultural water assessment in the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption Relating to Agricultural Water” proposed rule (agricultural water proposed rule). If finalized, the rule would replace the microbial criteria and testing requirements for pre-harvest agricultural water for covered produce (other than sprouts) in the 2015 Produce Safety Final Rule with provisions for systems-based agricultural water assessments. Relevant definitions and resources can be viewed by clicking the icon next to the title of this page.
We welcome feedback on v1.0 of this optional tool, such as suggestions related to the tool’s functionality and useability. Feedback on the tool can be sent to
Use of this tool is not required by law (see legal disclaimer) and would not be required. If the agricultural water proposed rule is finalized, FDA expects this tool to supplement and not replace other education, training, and experience that would be needed to understand and implement the requirements of the rule.
The information entered into this page will not be shared with FDA and will not be saved. If you need to pause while entering information, we recommend that you export a copy of your data and save it to your local machine. Once the document is saved, you may resume at a later time, and upload the file to begin from where you paused. Once you have reached the end of this tool, you will be given the opportunity to print out a summary of the information entered. Remember, the data that is entered here is not saved unless your export a file to save on your computer.
This tool is being provided for illustrative purposes only because the requirements for agricultural water assessments under proposed § 112.43 have not been finalized.
Legal disclaimer: Use of the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder v. 1.0 does not constitute FDA approval of an agricultural water assessment or guarantee compliance with FDA’s requirements, if finalized. FDA has taken all reasonable precautions in creating the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder v. 1.0. However, FDA is not responsible for errors, omissions or deficiencies regarding the tool. The Agricultural Water Assessment Builder v. 1.0 is available “as is” and without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. FDA is not making a commitment in any way to regularly update the tool. Responsibility for the interpretation and use of the Agricultural Water Assessment Builder v. 1.0 lies solely with the user. Third parties’ use of or acknowledgment of the tool does not in any way represent that FDA endorses such third parties or expresses any opinion with respect to their statements.

Research – Spain – Report of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) on the safety of foods air-dried outdoors that are produced by traditional methods and which require an adjustment of the hygiene requirements that must be fulfilled


The European Union recognises that traditional methods of food production are a valuable and irreplaceable heritage that must be preserved over time. Therefore, Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 permits a degree of flexibility in its application provided food hygiene goals are not compromised. For decades, both plant and animal-based foods have been produced in Spain which are air-dried outdoors until reaching a low water activity (aw) that enables their preservation at room temperature. These foods include, raisins, dried apricots, dried figs, ñora peppers, dried fish or octopus that are at least partially air-dried, among others.
The Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) is of the opinion that the processing of naturally dried foods leads to their correct preservation, provided they reach an aw that inhibits the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms and the production of toxins in them. Some of the stages in the process may cause microbial inactivation.
Above all, it is necessary to ensure the absence of the formation of toxins, with aflatoxins being the ones that have been most frequently identified. Thus, it is considered that the drying should be conducted in the least time possible, ensuring a decrease of aw within the first 2-3 days of below 0.90 to inhibit the development of aflatoxins, and this drying should be continued until aw levels lower than 0.70 are reached, preventing the growth of pathogenic microorganisms that cause spoilage. It is necessary to guarantee suitable hygienic conditions during processing in order to prevent contamination by pathogens and/or toxins.
Although they cannot proliferate in the stated preservation conditions, they can remain viable in the final product, therefore they may pose a risk to consumer health. Microorganisms with a low infective dose and those that have been identified in dried products (such as S. aureus and Salmonella) and microbial toxins are especially relevant. Autonomous Communities must monitor compliance with the requirements to ensure that they do not pose a risk in these products.
Although these types of products have a low aw, within the range of 0.6 to 0.8 according to avail-able literature, given that this information is not available for each assessed product, the level of safety reached cannot be established on an individual basis. Additionally, the diverse factors used in some of them (additives and preservatives, pasteurisation processes, etc.) require individual assessment once all the necessary information is available. Therefore, the drying must reach aw levels below 0.70 in the least time possible for these types of products to be considered stable, as given these conditions, there is no scientific evidence that shows that the safety and stability of the dried products are compromised, provided good hygiene practices are maintained during their preservation and storage.
For final levels of aw that are higher, correct preservation may be achieved through a combination of factors which proves that it is effective throughout the shelf life of the product, maintaining the aforementioned appropriate hygiene practices.