USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an advance copy this week of a Federal Register Notice announcing the Agency’s intent to impose mandatory test and hold for specific meat and poultry products.  The Notice is expected to be published within the next few days and FSIS is providing a 90-day comment period on its mandatory test and hold policy.  FSIS intends to publish a second Federal Register Notice in which it will respond to comments and announce the effective date of the new policy.

The new test and hold policy will require establishments to maintain control of product tested for adulterants by FSIS and not allow such products to enter commerce until negative test results are received.  The new policy will not apply to raw meat or poultry products tested for Salmonella or other pathogens that FSIS has not designated as adulterants in those products.  It will, however, apply to non-intact raw beef product or intact raw beef product intended for non-intact use that is tested for E. coli 0157:H7.  It will also apply to any ready-to-eat products tested for Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli 0157:H7, or Salmonella; as well as ready-to-eat product that passed over food contact surfaces that have been tested for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella.

The new policy will also apply to livestock carcasses subject to FSIS testing for veterinary drugs such as antibiotics, sulfonamides, or avermectins or the feed additive carbadox.  FSIS indicated, however, that because of the significant number of poultry carcasses in a lot, the economic effect of holding such a lot, and because historically, FSIS has not seen residue problems in poultry tested for residues, such products would not need to be held from commerce pending negative test results.

The advance copy of the Federal Register Notice is available on the FSIS Web site at