FACT Calls for Single Federal Egg Agency at Senate Hearing

Jul 01, 1999, 01:00 ET from Food Animal Concerns Trust

    CHICAGO, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)
 called for a single federal agency with responsibility for shell egg safety.
 A single egg safety agency is essential for the prevention of foodborne
 disease in shell eggs.  The single agency would have clearly established roles
 and responsibilities.  It would be empowered with regulatory authority as well
 as enforcement powers.  The agency would create regulations addressing egg
 safety issues from farm to table.
     "Clearly, the current federal food safety system is complex, fragmented,
 and cumbersome with at least 12 agencies involved in the key functions of
 safety" stated Richard Wood, FACT's Executive Director.  "This state of
 affairs is untenable and must be changed," he said.
     "The regulatory response to shell eggs illustrates the need for change,"
 states FACT's testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government
 Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia which is evaluating the
 federal response to egg safety.  "To the extent that there are regulations
 governing shell eggs, no one agency oversees the safety of eggs.  Instead, at
 least three agencies are involved.  This situation has resulted in
 inconsistent food safety policy decisions," FACT states.
     While the USDA has the authority to grade eggs, the FDA is the agency
 required to perform tracebacks of foodborne illness outbreaks.  According to
 FACT, this situation results in confusion for producers as it is unclear who
 creates the rules that must be followed with regard to egg production and
 processing.  For consumers, the confusion lies in determining who is
 responsible for protecting them from unsafe eggs.  FACT wants a food safety
 system where it is clear who is responsible for regulating food production.
     FACT is a non-profit organization that advocates for better farming
 practices that will protect human health, improve the safety of meat, milk,
 and eggs and promote the humane husbandry of food animals.

SOURCE Food Animal Concerns Trust