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US agencies to tackle future foodborne disease outbreaks together

June 03, 2014
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Federal agencies are to join forces for investigations into foodborne disease outbreaks in the future.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have agreed to combine their expertise to tackle foodborne health hazards arising from meat, poultry and processed egg products.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the agencies is in line with the One Health initiative, according to which the health of humans, animals and the environment is connected and a disease that affects the health of human beings, animals and the environment can be most effectively solved through enhanced communication, cooperation and collaboration among institutions and across disciplines.

According to FSIS Administrator Al Almanza, FSIS investigations identify health hazards in meat and poultry products and the MOU will complement these investigations by incorporating the knowledge and skills of personnel from the CDC and the ATSRD.

Mutual roles and responsibilities are laid out by the MOU for training of personnel and planning of interagency assessment of FSIS-regulated establishments as part of foodborne illness investigations and health hazard evaluations.

Beth P. Bell, director of CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, believes that the agreement between the agencies will enhance their working relationship regarding food safety, serving as a testament to their commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to investigations of foodborne disease outbreaks.

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