Egg-safety measures to be announced today
July 1, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A government report says federal agencies need to do a better job of fighting salmonella contamination in eggs, and, as a result, new safety initiatives will be announced Thursday.
The report from the General Accounting Office, which will be presented Thursday to the Senate Government Affairs subcommittee, concluded that there is a lack of consistency among agencies that oversee egg safety, and more must be done to bring eggs safety from the chicken to the kitchen table.
Among the potential problems are the lack of refrigeration between the time eggs are packaged and their delivery to retail stores, the repackaging of eggs after their expiration date and inconsistent dating on cartons.
Incorrect food-preparation procedures also are a possible risk.
Raw or undercooked eggs are the most common sources of salmonella, a bacteria that causes infection of the intestines, typically resulting in diarrhea, cramps, headache, fever, vomiting and dehydration. The bacteria was blamed for about 230 deaths in the United States in 1997.
Administration sources told CNN that they will announce two changes Thursday:
The consumer advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest, contends the government has not done enough to address these serious food safety issues in the past.
Members expect to testify at the Senate hearing along with representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and egg industry representatives.
The egg industry says that with proper handling, an egg poses no greater risk than any other perishable food, and they say only one out of every 20,000 eggs might contain salmonella.
Still, government researchers say the two changes to be announced could prevent up to 66,000 illnesses and 40 deaths each year.
Report finds cracks in government egg-safety efforts
General Accounting Office
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