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USDA Wants To Update Poultry Production To Combat Foodborne Illnesses

USDA Wants To Update Poultry Production To Combat Foodborne Illnesses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday proposed sweeping changes in the way chicken and turkey meat is processed that are intended to reduce illnesses from food contamination but could require meat companies to make extensive changes to their operations.

Despite decades of efforts to try and reduce illnesses caused by salmonella in food, more than 1 million people are sickened every year and nearly a fourth of those cases come from turkey and chicken meat.

As it stands, consumers bear much of the responsibility for avoiding illness from raw poultry by handling it carefully in the kitchen — following the usual advice to not wash raw chicken or turkey (it spreads the bacteria), using separate utensils when preparing meat and cooking to 165 degrees. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service wants to do something about it by starting with the farmers that raise the birds and following through the processing plant where the meat is made.

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