WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department released on Tuesday proposed new meat-testing requirements issued in the final days of the Clinton presidency but put on hold immediately after the Bush administration took over.
The rules would require makers of hot dogs, cold cuts and other ready-to-eat meat products to test plant equipment regularly for Listeria monocytogenes and allow the government to inspect company records.
The Agriculture Department said it will take public comment on the rules for 90 days after they are published in the Federal Register. USDA also plans to hold public meetings to discuss the scientific issues behind the proposed regulations.
No significant changes were made in the rules that the Clinton administration proposed, said Kevin Herglotz, a spokesman for Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.
Carol Tucker Foreman, director of the Consumer Federation of America's Food Policy Institute, called the rules "important and long overdue."
Veneman "has earned the trust of the consumer community with this action," Foreman said.
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