WASHINGTON – Federal agencies involved in foodborne outbreak investigations will expand opportunities for collaboration to address foodborne health hazards associated with meat, poultry and processed egg products.

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines mutual roles and responsibilities for training personnel and interagency assessment of FSIS-regulated establishments as part of foodborne illness outbreak investigations.

“Our agencies work together on foodborne outbreak investigations to identify the source of illnesses and conduct epidemiologic studies,” said Robin Ikeda, Deputy Director of CDC’s Office of Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health. “This memorandum will enhance opportunities for us to participate in assessments of FSIS-regulated establishments and other health hazards evaluations.”

The MOU does not change existing interagency collaborative work such as illness cluster and outbreak investigations. The MOU is part of the One Health initiative which links the health of humans, animals and the environment.

“The FSIS investigation process identifies health hazards in meat and poultry products, and this agreement leverages the expertise of personnel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to complement that process,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza.