Egg recall expedites implementation of new food rules


Salmonella outbreak has lead to recall of more than half billion eggs, involving two egg producing firms.  The outbreak has drawn criticism against Wright County Eggs and Hillandale Farms, two companies responsible for the recall.  At the same time blame has been shared by the Food and Drug Administration for not taking a proactive approach to solve the problem and responding to it after the fact.  Well the good news is – in the midst of the egg recall crisis, new federal safety rules are in effect, which are intended to prevent outbreaks like the recent salmonella in future.

What regulations are being changed – Past and now?
U.S. Department of Agriculture was responsible for inspecting the egg processing plants, where as the eggs came under FDA jurisdiction after eggs left those facilities.  Not any more! A new rule was implemented on July 9, which requires the FDA and the USDA to share responsibility to inspect egg manufacturers.

Sherri McGarry, emergency coordinator for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said that if this new rules had been implemented earlier salmonella outbreak “could have prevented” as FDA did not have authority to inspect Wright County Egg farms.  I agree to certain extent, but my question is, what was the USDA doing? Wasn’t it its responsibility?  Well, the agencies are taking the egg recall seriously as said by the FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said “the FDA is taking the issue very, very seriously.” 

The new egg rules include such mandates as farms...

testing eggs and facilities for salmonella, protecting feed and water from contamination and buying chicks and young hens from supplies that monitor for salmonella. The FDA announced the new regulations in July of 2009 and gave farms a year to become compliant.

The interesting part is the Congress has joined the FDA and the Center of Disease Prevention and Control in reviewing the egg recall outbreak. 

  • Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) sent a letter to Iowa egg producers Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, asking for details on when they informed federal regulators of the contamination problem as well as their internal procedures for preventing Salmonella infection in their flocks.
  • Also, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has requested that the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture explain their actions (or lack thereof) regarding the Iowa egg operations.

I think the people are getting involved at right level and the new regulation should help in preventing future outbreaks.  The FDA and the CDC are working in finding root cause of egg recall. Be safe and eat responsibly to avoid salmonella infection.

Source: wsj; medpagetoday

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