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N.Y. lawmakers hatch plan to require salmonella vaccinations

Two New York lawmakers want farmers to vaccinate their chickens against salmonella, The Associated Press reported.

Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh announced their proposal in response to the nationwide recall of more than half a billion eggs linked to nearly 1,500 cases of salmonella poisoning. "The massive outbreaks of food-borne illness in recent months leave no doubt that our food safety system is failing us, threatening everyone's well-being and sometimes costing people's lives," Kavanagh said.

Since May, there has been a four-fold increase in the number of cases of salmonella infections, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported. Preliminary investigations by state and federal officials suggest that contaminated eggs are the likely sources of many of these infections.

In Britain, the Lion Quality Code of Practice was launched in 1998 after the country experienced a similar salmonella outbreak. Eggs are now marked with a lion stamp to show that they meet numerous safety standards, including hen vaccination against salmonella, passport certification tracking all movement and hygiene controls for breeding flocks and hatcheries. Since enacting these guidelines, the U.K. has successfully reduced the number of salmonella cases by 96 percent.

"Looking back, that scare was probably the best thing for the industry because we sorted out the problem, and we now have very high standards and there are no consumer concerns about safety," Amanda Cryer, spokeswoman for the British Egg Information Service, said.

While there is no plan to require vaccinations at all U.S. farms, the Food and Drug Administration is going to inspect all 600 of the country's largest egg producers before the end of next year. Most of these producers have gone largely uninspected for decades. The FDA also intends to improve the training given to inspectors.

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