Though careful to point out the possibility that not all have been confirmed as part of the egg outbreak, the CDC now counts 1,953 people who have been confirmed for the same strain of Salmonella enteritidis as the one involved in the Salmonella egg outbreak since May of this year–though the real number of victims may be in the tens of thousands. Food safety legislation has been pending, some would say languishing, in the Senate for a long time–legislation that may well have prevented this outbreak. And, quite notably, the FDA’s "egg rule" took effect in July of this year (too late for the regulatory measures in it to have prevented the current egg outbreak), despite being proposed by the FDA almost a decade ago. Indisputably, the testing, sanitation, and flock maintenance regulations in the Egg Rule would have given the regulatory framework to prevent the situation Wright County Egg now finds itself in.
It is time that watershed food safety events (i.e. devastating outbreaks) stop serving as the impetus for change. See also, Spinach E. coli outbreak and Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. One way to make that happen is for the government to give itself the authority it needs to help effect change. Pass the Food Safety Modernization Act now, and while we’re at it, let’s just take the forward-thinking, undeniably legitimate public health measure of declaring all non-O157 shiga toxin producing strains of E. coli "adulterants" now too. Legislate now.