Standards aim to cut down on salmonella in poultry

The government is pushing the poultry industry to make chicken and turkey a little safer with new standards aimed at reducing the number of cases of foodborne illness.

The proposed standards announced Wednesday by the Agriculture Department apply to the most popular poultry products — chicken breasts, legs and wings, and ground chicken and turkey. They are voluntary but designed to pressure companies to lower rates of salmonella and another pathogen, campylobacter, in their products.

The companies could reduce the rates of those pathogens with improved better screening of flocks and better sanitation.

The Agriculture Department says the standards could eventually reduce salmonella and campylobacter illnesses in raw poultry by about 25 percent, or 50,000 illnesses a year.

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