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US brings in ‘hold and test’ rule for meat

By Carina Perkins , 17-Dec-2012

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is introducing a new “hold and test” rule on processed meat products in a bid to improve food safety.

The new policy will require manufacturers and importers to hold all non-intact beef products and ready-to-eat products containing meat and poultry until they have returned a negative test result for Shiga-toxin producing E.coli and other pathogens. The agency said it expected the results would usually only take two days, pointing out that many manufacturers already implemented their own hold and test policies.

“This new policy will reduce foodborne illnesses and the number of recalls by preventing contaminated products from reaching consumers,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Dr Elisabeth Hagen. “Many producers hold products until test results come back. We’re encouraging others in the industry to make this a routine part of operations.”

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