CHICAGO, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- "The President's Food Safety Initiative,
announced this week in Washington, is a significant step toward reducing
foodborne illness in the U.S.," stated Richard Wood, the executive director
for Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), "but no food safety system is complete
until it addresses pathogens on the farm and recognizes that the genesis of
many pathogens is in farm animals, their feed, and their environment." For
example, cattle are the primary source of E.coli 0157:H7, which causes from
160 to 400 deaths each year in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture Economic Research Service. Eggs are the primary source for
Salmonella enteritidis with up to 3,800 foodborne related deaths each year.
"While the president's initiative calls for immediate steps such as
educating consumers and monitoring foodborne illness outbreaks, the on-farm
sections of the initiative are delayed and inadequate. The most common and
dangerous foodborne pathogens originate on farms, and on-farm controls are
essential if we are to decrease the incidence of foodborne illness," Wood
The president's initiative proposes voluntary Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Point (HACCP) methods to reduce pathogen contamination on farms.
HACCP is a process whereby critical points for controlling pathogens are
identified. Control steps are then put into place at these points. The
president's initiative does not include on-farm microbial testing to determine
whether these HACCP controls are effective. FACT wants the HACCP controls and
microbial testing to be mandatory, not voluntary, since producer participation
in voluntary food safety programs has been far from unanimous.
"In addition, for the president's initiative to be effective, a greater
emphasis should be placed on eliminating foodborne pathogens in animal feeds,"
stated Richard Wood. Animal feed is a primary contributing source of
pathogens for food animals. FACT believes that it makes no sense to feed
pathogens to the animals that become food for consumers. FACT supports the
application of mandatory HACCP controls and microbial testing to animal feed
processing. Animal feed problems are buried in the president's initiative in
the section titled "Long-term activities" and include no funding.
Finally, many producers rely heavily on antibiotics. Fifty percent of all
antibiotics manufactured by American pharmaceutical companies are given to
farm animals, contributing to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
"The president's initiative acknowledges this danger, but does not address the
need to reduce antibiotic use," stated Wood.
Food Animal Concerns Trust is non-profit organization that advocates
better farming practices to improve the safety of meat, milk, and eggs. It
also developed and operates a model egg farming system on 12 farms in
Pennsylvania with a comprehensive Salmonella
enteritidis testing and control program. The eggs are sold under the
trademark NEST EGGS in leading supermarkets in the New York City area,
the Washington, D.C. area, the Chicago area, and parts of Ohio.
SOURCE Food Animal Concerns Trust