THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
May 22, 1998
VICE PRESIDENT GORE LAUNCHES COMPUTER NETWORK
TO FIGHT FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS
New Food Safety System Five Times Faster
Washington, D.C. -- Addressing a problem that affects 33 million
Americans each year, Vice President Gore announced today a new
national computer network that will be five times faster at identifying and combating food-borne illness.
At Locating Serious and Wide-Spread
Food Contamination Problems
PulseNet -- a national computer network that identifies outbreaks
of food-borne illness -- will enable public health laboratories across
the country to use the Internet to provide alerts when outbreaks of
food-borne disease occur.
President Clinton and I are committed to finding ways to ensure
that the food Americans put on their tables is safe, said the Vice
President, who was joined at a White House ceremony by Health and
Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Agriculture Secretary Dan
With this efficient new computer network, we can more effectively
trace widespread foodborne disease outbreaks and warn millions of Americans to stay away from contaminated food products.
In as little as 48 hours, PulseNet can identify rogue E.coli
strains in foods by identifying the distinctive DNA fingerprints of
pathogens found in both food sources and the patients suffering from
gastric illness. In 1993, it took three weeks to track an rogue
E.coli contamination in hamburger meat produced by single source.
PulseNet will link food safety investigators at the Centers for
Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture
Department, four key area laboratories and state health departments to
link directly with the PulseNet database.
As of today, epidemiologists in the following states will be on
PulseNet -- Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, Washington, California,
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio,
Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The CDC plans to have all
states on the network by 1999.
This important Administration initiative will reduce the number of
Americans who suffer from episodes of food-borne illness and prevent
over 9,000 deaths a year. This initiative is part of the Vice
President's effort to reinvent government through partnerships at
state and federal agencies and make smart use of the latest technology.
The Vice President also announced the formation of FORCG
(pronounced Force G), a partnership of federal and state agencies to
better respond to food-borne illness outbreaks.