Officials from the U.S. and Mexican governments this week signed a cooperative arrangement that aims to improve the safety of the food supplies in both nations. The arrangement, in conjunction with other cooperative measures, will target reducing the incidence of food-borne illnesses on both sides of the border. "This agreement marks a very important new era in the food safety efforts of both our countries," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "It recognises the strong bond between Mexico and the United States - a bond that is reflected in the enormous increase in the trade of food commodities across our borders." Under the terms of the arrangement, the HHS' Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Mexico's Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA) and Secretaría de Salud (SSA) will enhance their existing food safety partnership through expanding programs, sharing information and coordinating specific activities, the USDA said in a statement. FDA, SSA and SAGARPA will cooperate to share information on the sources of fresh produce and to investigate into the causes of any contamination of these products. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and Foreign Agriculture Service and SAGARPA will take steps to ensure the safety of meat, poultry and egg products in both countries. These efforts are expected to ensure that borders remain open and that safe products continue to flow freely between the countries. According a UDSA news release the agencies will also collaborate on other specific projects to achieve common understanding on issues of mutual concern.