A new cross-border plan to control foodborne illness outbreaks North or South was launched today as part of a crackdown by health professionals seeking to curb the level of sickness caused by illnesses such as salmonella and E.coli.

The plan aims to ensure greater preparedness among health professionals in the event of having to manage and control an outbreak which involves both sides of the border. The cross-border plan defines roles and responsibilities for all the different statutory authorities and gives comprehensive information to facilitate more efficient co-ordination by all involved in managing a potential cross-border outbreak.

The plan was launched when public health professionals from across the island of Ireland met in Belfast to look at best practice for the prevention and control of foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and E.coli.

By working together at events such as the conference, health professionals could improve their ability to keep the communities healthy, said Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Safefood`s director of human health and nutrition.