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US: foodborne disease response applauded

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius commended the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) for the new Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response.

These guidelines assist local, state and federal agencies in preventing and managing foodborne disease outbreaks through planning, detection, investigation, control and prevention.

"Improving food safety is at the forefront of President Obama's agenda, and these Guidelines will help local, state and federal agencies to prioritize prevention, strengthen surveillance and enforcement, and improve response and recovery," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"Last week the Obama Administration took an important step forward by introducing tougher standards to reduce salmonella contamination and E. coli outbreaks, and the Guidelines announced today will help government agencies further that goal."

On 14 March, 2009, the President created the Food Safety Working Group, co-chaired by Secretaries Vilsack and Sebelius. The Working Group is charged with enhancing our food safety system by building collaborative partnerships with consumers, industry and our regulatory partners.

"I would like to thank CIFOR for their hard work and for this vital contribution toward food safety reform," said Sebelius. "The Guidelines show that by working together, we can all dramatically improve our food safety system and further protect the public health. We hope to further this collaborative effort through the Food Safety Working Group."

Source: USDA

Natalie Berkhout

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