F.S.I.S. proposes to make test, hold mandatory

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing to make the testing and holding of meat and poultry products mandatory until after microbiologic tests for harmful pathogens come back negative.

“While many establishments have similar policies already in place, this proposed requirement will allow government to provide an additional safeguard to ensure food safety,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “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.”

The F.S.I.S. estimated that 44 recalls between 2007 and 2009 may have been prevented if the proposed regulation had been in effect.

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, there will be a 90 day comment period. Comments may be submitted through the eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov or by mail to the U.S.D.A., F.S.I.S. Docket Clerk, Room 2-2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Mailstop 5272, Beltsville, Md. 20705. The proposed rule’s docket number is FSIS-2006-0044.

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