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Flu vaccine eggs safe from salmonella

Sept. 3, 2010 at 7:02 p.m.

<strong>Q</strong><strong> UESTION:</strong> With all the recalls on eggs, I was wondering what would happen if eggs used for growing flu vaccine were tainted?

<strong>ANSWER:</strong> The information I found says salmonella would be removed before it made it to the public.

Also, the recent salmonella outbreak in shell eggs for food consumption does not affect the production, safety or availability of the 2010-2011 flu vaccine, according to information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Shelly Burgess, with the FDA, explained different types of eggs are used for flu vaccine production versus shell eggs that we eat.

"Influenza vaccine production is performed in embryonated (fertilized) hen's eggs. The working seed virus is injected into eggs, and the eggs are then incubated," Burgess said. "The vaccine virus strain grows in the allantoic fluid of the egg to increase the amount of virus that will be harvested for vaccine production. .... The eggs used for influenza vaccine production are different from eggs that are used for food consumption in that they are embryonated. The influenza virus vaccine undergoes extensive testing and the vaccine manufacturing process is highly regulated under FDA's current good manufacturing practice requirements, including annual inspections of the manufacturing processes and facilities."

I also found information on the Wall Street Journal's website in which a representative of Sanofi-Aventis, the largest supplier of flu vaccine in the United States, said the manufacturing process would remove salmonella or other bacteria.

<strong>Q:</strong> I have a gun I would like to sell, and I see newspaper ads for such sales all the time, but what about background checks on potential buyers?

<strong>A:</strong> I found information on the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that addressed the issue of gun sales from one private individual to another (in other words, between people who are not federal licensed gun dealers).

That information says one person may sell a firearm to another resident of the same state if he or she "does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal law." No record-keeping is required.

ATF spokesman Thomas Crowley confirmed for me no background check is necessary, although he recommended you find out the buyer's name.

For more information, visit
arms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html. The Texas Penal Code also has rules about who can own or purchase guns in Texas. Check out those rules at

<strong>Q:</strong> I recently noticed Longview High School replaced the football field turf, and then I read in your paper the costs involved. What was wrong with the old turf? 

<strong>A:</strong> The district spent about $1.17 million on the new turf, including dirt work and drainage, and Pat Collins, director of extracurricular activities, said it was money well spent.

"The old turf compromised the field and caused structural damage. It needed to be replaced," Collins said in statement the district provided me. "This field is used for every athletic team, band, Viewettes, majorettes and physical education. We can't take the chance of injuring anyone when the field is compromised."

Note the project was paid for with money from the district's general fund balance. No bond money was used.

<strong>ANSWER LINE GOOF:</strong> Thank you to the readers who pointed out a mistake I made a week ago regarding how to stop unwanted mail. I omitted an important phrase about the types of mail that cannot be refused.

The U.S. Postal Service's website says there are types of mail that cannot be refused after they have been delivered (that's the phrase I left out): registered mail, insured, certified mail, collect on delivery (COD), and return receipt for merchandise mail; and response mail to a sales promotion, solicitation, announcement or other type of advertisement the recipient did not refuse it when was offered to that person.

E-mail questions to, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.



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