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News Release

Release No. 0309.09
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USDA Office of Communications: (202) 720-4623
HHS Public Affairs: (202) 690-6343

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USDA AND HHS PRAISE GUIDELINES FOR FOODBORNE DISEASE OUTBREAK RESPONSE

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today commended the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) for the new Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response. These guidelines assist local, state and federal agencies in preventing and managing foodborne disease outbreaks through planning, detection, investigation, control and prevention.

"Improving food safety is at the forefront of President Obama's agenda, and these Guidelines will help local, state and federal agencies to prioritize prevention, strengthen surveillance and enforcement, and improve response and recovery," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Last week the Obama Administration took an important step forward by introducing tougher standards to reduce salmonella contamination and E. coli outbreaks, and the Guidelines announced today will help government agencies further that goal."

On March 14, 2009, the President created the Food Safety Working Group, co-chaired by Secretaries Vilsack and Sebelius. The Working Group is charged with enhancing our food safety system by building collaborative partnerships with consumers, industry and our regulatory partners.

"I would like to thank CIFOR for their hard work and for this vital contribution toward food safety reform," said Sebelius. "The Guidelines show that by working together, we can all dramatically improve our food safety system and further protect the public health. We hope to further this collaborative effort through the Food Safety Working Group."

CIFOR is a multidisciplinary working group that includes representatives of local, state and federal agencies with expertise in the fields of epidemiology, environmental health, and laboratory science. This working group, chaired by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the National Association of County and City Health Officials, was organized to reduce the burden of foodborne illness in the United States. USDA and HHS' agencies, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are the federal representatives to CIFOR.

The working group released a draft version of these Guidelines in June 2008, which then went through a public review and comment process.

To access the Guidelines and more information about CIFOR, please visit www.cifor.usThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website..