New egg-safety regulations proposed
July 1, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- To protect against the risk of salmonella and other foodborne illnesses, the Clinton administration on Thursday announced new safety initiatives for the labeling and storage of eggs.
The proposal was announced the same day a report critical of egg-safety procedures was presented to the Senate Government Affairs subcommittee.
The General Accounting Office concluded that there is a lack of consistency among the federal agencies that oversee egg safety, and more must be done to bring eggs safely from the chicken to the kitchen.
Among the potential problems cited: 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.
The administration initiative includes:
"Eggs are a good source of protein and can be a healthy and economical contribution to a well-balanced diet," said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala in a statement. "However, they need proper handling or they could potentially be the source of foodborne illness."
Raw or undercooked eggs are the most common source of salmonella, a bacteria that causes infection of the intestines, typically resulting in diarrhea, cramps, headache, fever, vomiting and dehydration. The bacteria was linked to about 230 deaths in the United States in 1997.
The egg industry says that with proper handling, an egg poses no greater risk than any other perishable food. It says only one out of every 20,000 eggs might contain salmonella.
Still, government researchers say the two new regulations could prevent up to 66,000 illnesses and 40 deaths each year.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Report finds cracks in government egg-safety efforts
General Accounting Office
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