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Food Safety Net Bolstered

Food Safety Net Bolstered

The nationís faltering food protection system took a step forward with the announcement of new regulation that could stall the spread of the dreaded salmonella in eggs. A new watchdog was named at the Food and Drug Administration for securing more control.

This comes in the wake of a pledge by President Barrack Obama to salvage an understaffed and underfunded system that has failed on a repeated basis to secure control over outbreaks.

The requirements that the egg producers are expected to undertake include the following:

  • All the egg producers will be expected to buy chicks from salmonella monitoring suppliers. Producers will be expected to monitor the poultry houses on a regular basis, control rodents and guard against bioterrorism threats. Eggs will have to be refrigerated for at least 45 degrees within 36 hours of them getting laid.
  • Estimates by the FDA say that these additional measures will cost the industry about $81 million in a year. However, it will also provide public health benefits of up to $1.4billion. This is to be secured by a projected drop of around 60% in the illnesses that contaminated eggs cause. According to the agency, this translates to around 79000 fewer illnesses in a year.

The department of agriculture has also taken up measures to reduce salmonella in poultry and turkey by installing new measures by the end of this year. The agency plans to improve its monitoring facilities to ensure that the incidence of E Coli is brought down. This is especially true of ground beef.

Producers have been provided with guidelines on the risk of contamination through tomatoes, melon and other leafy vegetables and fruit. There are also efforts to develop a new tracking system that can source an outbreak from food.

One of the academicians at Washington University's School of Public Health will be enrolled as an advisor to the agency commissioner. This will give the food safety unit a more important role.

The administration is also planning a new Ďunified incident command systemí that can coordinate all government response to food outbreaks in the future.

The recent scares regarding a number of food products like pistachios and peanut butter, pepper have instilled the need for major changes in the whole process of federal regulation of food.

Other bills sponsored by people like Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin are pending. The new rule on eggs and other steps were announced by the working group recently.

The vice president, Joe Biden announced that the goal was to overhaul the system and ensure a safer food system and dealing with emergencies in a quick manner when they do occur. These are the first of a number of steps that are being taken. The system is aimed at building a safe food system that prevents the breakout of dangerous diseases amongst people.

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