In order to reduce the threat of foodborne illnesses, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a “test and hold” system for the US meat and poultry industries, as current policies do not require that meat pass inspection before being shipped to consumers. Under the new system, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will hold products back from shipment to consumers until test results for pathogens or drug residues are received. “This approach will help us enhance protection of the food supply, reduce recalls, and ensure that all consumers are getting the safest food possible,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The change will impact smaller processors, as the five largest processors in the US (90 percent of the nation’s meat supply) already utilize similar safety systems.
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