April 7/Cinnaminson, N.J./USDA -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a new requirement for the meat and poultry industry that would potentially decrease the amount of contaminated foods that reach the public.  According to a news release from the USDA, "...USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would be able to hold products from commerce until FSIS test results for harmful substances are received. Currently, when FSIS collects a sample for testing, the sampled products are requested but not required to be held until test results are known. FSIS believes that this requirement will substantially reduce serious recalls for meat and poultry products."

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack stated, "While many establishments have similar policies already in place, this proposed requirement will allow government to provide an additional safeguard to ensure food safety.  Meat and poultry products will be prevented from reaching consumers until our inspectors have the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate test results. This approach will help us enhance protection of the food supply, reduce recalls, and ensure that all consumers are getting the safest food possible."

From the April 8, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News