A plan to chart the routes of transmission for Salmonella species is the reason for a new cooperative agreement between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and North Carolina State University (NC State). Beginning in September, FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) will begin working with NC State’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science and the Piedmont Research Station Poultry Unit to improve shell egg safety in the U.S. market. CFSAN wants NC State researchers to study the routes of transmission for Salmonella species, including but not limited to Salmonella Enteritidis (SE), within the shell egg production industry. “Of particular interest is determining whether other Salmonella serotypes, such as Salmonella Heidelberg (SH), behave similarly to SE, since outbreaks have been caused from consumption of eggs contaminated by SH,” read a CFSAN statement announcing the agreement. “Findings from the studies will help FDA and members of the egg industry better understand routes of Salmonella transmission and the food safety controls necessary to prevent illnesses from consumption of shell eggs,” it added. FDA’s current egg rule went into effect in stages, beginning in 2009. A year later, however, two Iowa egg farms were responsible for one of the largest recalls of shell eggs in U.S. history over SE contamination. NC State’s Piedmont Research Station is located in Salisbury, about two hours west of the main campus in Raleigh. The NCSU Prestage Department of Poultry Science is one of six university poultry departments in the U.S. North Carolina produces almost 10 percent of all U.S. poultry. NC State figures the “farm gate” value of the state’s poultry products at $3.6 billion annually with 800 million broilers, 32 million turkeys and over 3 billion shell eggs.