KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New FDA Laws On Egg Safety Would Have Prevented Salmonella Outbreak, Feds Say

The Washington Post: "Salmonella-infected eggs traceable to a large egg producer in Iowa may have caused as many as 1,200 cases of intestinal illness … The eggs went to distribution companies in 17 states, mostly west of the Mississippi River, but were then sold nationwide. ... Many states, as well as egg-producer associations, have voluntary 'egg quality assurance' programs with guidelines similar to those that are now mandatory. … In healthy people, it rarely causes severe illness. In people with a weak immune system -- and especially in AIDS patients -- salmonella can cause life-threatening bloodstream, blood vessel or brain infections" (Brown, 8/20).

CQ HealthBeat: "Federal officials said Thursday that a massive recall of eggs potentially contaminated with salmonella could have been averted if new federal rules safeguarding egg production had been in place. … Under a rule that went into effect in July, after the outbreak began, large-scale egg producers must adopt new preventive measures and refrigerate eggs during storage and transportation."

"The recall, which [Sherri McGarry, director of the Division of Public Health and Biostatistics at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA] told reporters was one of the largest shell egg recalls in recent history, also renewed calls in Congress for speedy approval of a food safety bill (S 510) that's been stalled in the Senate. The House has also approved legislation (HR 2749)" (Norman, 8/19).

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