In the past, U.S. poultry processors’ food safety procedures largely involved checking the birds for scabs and sores (grosssssss). But now, new proposals have called for producers to focus more on sanitation, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Tom Vilsack, U.S. secretary of agriculture, said that as many as 5,200 people a year could avoid food-borne illness — and as much as $250 million could be saved yearly — if companies updated their methods, according to the mag.
Vilsack says that inspectors would still check out the bird carcasses at the end of the assembly line, but that pre-line look-overs — which started in 1906 — would cease.
A public health expert contacted by the publication heralded the news, saying: “This is historic. … If you really want to improve our poultry system, this is what you would do. It’s all about improving food safety. You can’t see salmonella.”