The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today that 60 days from now producers will for the first time be required to hold shipments of non-intact raw beef and all ready-to-eat products containing meat and poultry until they pass the agency's testing for adulterants that are known to cause food-borne illnesses such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria.
USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said in a statement, "This new policy will reduce food-borne illnesses and the number of recalls by preventing contaminated products from reaching consumers."
The new "hold and test" policy was based on public input on a federal register notice placed in April of last year, and Hagan says she hopes it will become a routine practice across the industry. Official establishments and importers of record will be required to maintain control of products tested for adulterants by FSIS and not release to the marketplace until negative test results are received - usually within two days.
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