is what happens when regulators become gun shy in relation to protecting the American people. 40 years of ReThugs pounding & pounding about "big government" is the direct cause of the increase in salmonella poisoning.
Faced with a crisis more than a decade ago in which thousands of people were sickened from salmonella in infected eggs, farmers in Britain began vaccinating their hens against the bacteria. That simple but decisive step virtually wiped out the health threat.
But when American regulators created new egg safety rules that went into effect last month, they declared that there was not enough evidence to conclude that vaccinating hens against salmonella would prevent people from getting sick. The Food and Drug Administration decided not to mandate vaccination of hens — a precaution that would cost less than a penny per a dozen eggs.
The Rethugs sing the siren song of volunteerism when it comes to our health, the volunteerism they sing about, however, is music only to the ears of shareholders.
Many people in the American egg industry say they believe that the current outbreak and recall will tip the balance and force nearly all producers in the United States to begin vaccinating hens to reassure consumers.
The F.D.A. said it considered mandatory vaccination very seriously. “We didn’t believe that, based on the data we had, there was sufficient scientific evidence for us to require it,” said Dr. Nega Beru, director of the agency’s Office of Food Safety.
However, Dr. Beru says that the new rules encourage producers to vaccinate if they think it will help fight salmonella.****
Another F.D.A. food safety official, Nancy S. Bufano, said that despite the success of vaccination in Britain, the agency thought that because the vaccines used in the two countries were not identical, it made comparisons difficult.
Vaccine company executives, however, said the differences were minor and the drugs used in both countries were equally effective.
The drop in salmonella infections in Britain was stunning.
In 1997, there were 14,771 reported cases in England and Wales of the most common type of the bacteria, a strain known as Salmonella Enteritidis PT4. Vaccine trials began that year, and the next year, egg producers began vaccinating in large numbers.
The number of human illnesses has dropped almost every year since then. Last year, according to data from the Health Protection Agency of England and Wales, there were just 581 cases, a drop of 96 percent from 1997.
“We have pretty much eliminated salmonella as a human problem in the U.K.,” said Amanda Cryer, director of the British Egg Information Service, an industry group.
My emphases. ****WTF? The producers get to decide if the vaccinations will stop the salmonella? I think that that decision rests with the FDA, since it is the FDA that has the experts & expertise to figure these things out. They are apparently so afraid of the Congressional ReThugs that they either can not, will not, or no longer know how to take decisive action to protect Americans from salmonella. Christ, it's 2010 people! Get with the program.