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FEDERAL AGENCIES JOIN EFFORTS AGAINST SALMONELLA

 FEDERAL AGENCIES JOIN EFFORTS AGAINST SALMONELLA
 WASHINGTON, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Food and Drug


Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced an expanded program to protect consumers from salmonella in grade A shell eggs through increased testing, enhanced tracking of suspect eggs and advice on safe egg storage, handling and cooking.
 "The joint program will not eradicate salmonella bacteria or eliminate all risk of disease, but it will help us deal more effectively with the problem and minimize the risk to the public health," said FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler, M.D.
 "We recognized that a joint program will result in greater efficiency," said USDA Assistant Secretary Jo Ann Smith. This agreement culminates more than a year of intense and fruitful discussions."
 The program includes breeder flock testing, research, consumer education and recommendations to restaurant managers, retail markets and institutions on storage, handling and cooking of eggs.
 Salmonellosis results from consumption of food that contains salmonella bacteria. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. In most healthy people, the infection lasts a day or two and clears up. However, in immune-compromised people and very young children the symptoms can be so severe as to be life- threatening.
 In 1986, the Centers for Disease Control determined that grade A shell eggs -- the kind most commonly sold in cartons in grocery stores -- were a significant source of Salmonella enteritidis, one variety of the bacterium. Since then, FDA and APHIS have each developed programs, based on their different authorities and responsibilities, to look into the problem and control it. The FDA program provides guidance to retail food establishments; informs the public on how to avoid illness; assists efforts of other government agencies; and provides surveillance to ensure that eggs in interstate commerce are properly handled and labeled. The APHIS program traces the source of egg-related outbreaks; tests the source flock and works to eliminate infection; and enforces regulations on pasteurizing eggs from infected flocks and prohibiting interstate movement of infected birds.
 Discussions on how to coordinate strategies began in February 1991. Since then, the agencies have been working to develop a comprehensive control program.
 A highlight of today's announcement is the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will involve testing of more poultry facilities and an expanded ability to trace eggs involved in human illness to the flock of origin. The agencies will conduct joint consumer education and research projects. In addition they are pledging support to a pilot salmonella control program underway in cooperation with the state of Pennsylvania.
 FDA is one of eight Public Health Service agencies within HHS.
 -0- 5/21/92
 /NOTE: TV broadcasters: Use open caption for the hearing impaired./
 /CONTACT: Brad Stone of the Food and Drug Administration, 202-245-1144, or after hours, 703-892-0468/ CO: Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Department of Agriculture ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


MH -- DC014 -- 2766 05/21/92 11:14 EDT
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Date:May 21, 1992
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