The Department of Agriculture announced a plan Tuesday to bring modern science to meat and poultry inspection, including requiring plants to conduct daily tests for contamination with salmonella bacteria, the leading cause of foodborne illness.
The long-awaited proposal is a major addition to the current visualinspection system, which is widely regarded as antiquated and ineffective. Tuesday’s announcement is “the most significant food-safety reform” since the passage of meat and poultry inspection laws in 1907 and 1957, the department said.
Foodborne disease is a significant public-health problem in the United States, according to the USDA. Nearly 5 million cases of illness and more than 4,000 deaths may be associated with meat and poultry products each year, the department said.