The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have signed an agreement to define expectations related to interagency assessment of foodborne health hazards potentially associated with meat, poultry and eggs. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expands collaboration between the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The MOU is part of the One Health initiative, a concept that embraces the idea that a disease impacting the health of humans, animals and the environment can be best solved through improved communication, cooperation and collaboration across disciplines and institutions. “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. The MOU outlines mutual roles and responsibilities for training personnel and planning interagency assessments of FSIS-regulated establishments as part of foodborne illness investigations and health hazard evaluations. The agreement doesn’t modify any existing interagency collaborative work, which includes illness cluster and outbreak investigations. “This agreement builds on the current working relationship between our agencies with respect to food safety and reaffirms our mutual commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to conducting foodborne disease investigations,” said Beth P. Bell, director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. FSIS personnel have completed training with epidemiologists, environmental health scientists and other subject matter experts within ATSDR, the National Center for Environmental Health and the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. And following the implementation of the MOU, the trained ATSDR personnel will be available to assist FSIS in the interpretation of epidemiological data to identify the possible causes of contamination.