WASHINGTON — The Obama Administration yesterday pledged more cooperation among government agencies responsible for food safety in the United States, improved surveillance and enforcement, and a focus on prevention of outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.
In a press conference highlighting the results of a study conducted by the Food Safety Working Group, Vice President Biden pledged that the various federal, state and local government bodies responsible for food safety would communicate better with each other and improve their oversight of the food supply.
Among the new initiatives: The Food and Drug Administration will issue a final rule aimed at reducing salmonella contamination in eggs, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service will develop new standards by year-end to reduce prevalence of salmonella in poultry; the FSIS will increase efforts to find traces of e. coli in beef, and the FDA by the end of this month will issue commodity-specific draft guidance on preventing e. coli in leafy greens, melons and tomatoes; and several steps will be taken to improve communication and the speed of response to outbreaks.
In addition, two new posts have been created at the FDA and at the Department of Agriculture that will serve to coordinate food safety activities.
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