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USDA Updates Pathogen Testing Procedures for Meat, Poultry

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will require meat and poultry producers and importers to wait for negative test results of foodborne pathogens before releasing products into the marketplace, starting 60 days from Dec. 7.

The new regulations apply to non-intact raw beef and ready-to-eat products containing meat or poultry that are routinely tested for E. coli and other pathogens. Test results typically take two days to process.

More news: USDA Posts New Food Safety Measures for Poultry

"This new policy will reduce foodborne illnesses and the number of recalls by preventing contaminated products from reaching consumers," Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA under secretary for food safety, said in a statement. "Many producers hold products until test results come back. We're encouraging others in the industry to make this a routine part of operations."

FSIS estimates that these procedures could have prevented 49 of the 251 recalls of meat, poultry and egg products that occurred from 2007 to 2010.

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