USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to provide a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to address foodborne health hazards in meat, poultry, and processed egg products.
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The MOU is part of the One Health initiative, a concept that inextricably links the health of humans, animals, and the environment—supporting the idea that a disease impacting the health of these three factors can be best solved through improved communication, cooperation, and collaboration across disciplines and institutions.
The MOU outlines mutual roles and responsibilities for the training of personnel and the planning of interagency assessment of FSIS-regulated establishments as part of foodborne illness investigations and health hazard evaluations. The MOU does not modify any existing interagency collaborative work, which includes illness clusters and outbreak investigations.
Training focused on FSIS statutes, regulations, and investigation processes. In addition, training included an in-plant food safety assessment. Following the implementation of the MOU, the trained CDC/ATSDR personnel will be available to assist FSIS in the interpretation of epidemiological data to identify the possible causes of contamination.