The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a critical step forward in making chicken and turkey products safer for Americans to eat.

As the result of the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), poultry companies will have to meet new requirements to control Salmonella and Campylobacter, a move that is expected to eliminate up to 5,000 cases of foodborne illness a year.

"The United States has been relying on a poultry inspection model that dates back to 1957, while rates of foodborne illness due to Salmonella and Campylobacter remain stubbornly high," said Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. "The system we are announcing today imposes stricter requirements on the poultry industry and places our trained inspectors where they can better ensure food is being processed safely. These improvements make use of sound science to modernize food safety procedures and prevent thousands of illnesses each year."

In foodservice facilities and other food production plants — a sector increasingly serviced by commercial cleaning-related firms — contamination is often treated after an occurrence, rather than prevented.

FSIS will now require poultry companies take measures to prevent Salmonella and Campylobacter, in part, by performing their own microbiological testing during production process. Inspectors will also be available to more frequently remove birds from the evisceration line for close food safety examinations, take samples for testing, check plant sanitation, verify compliance with food safety plans, observe live birds for signs of disease or mistreatment and ensuring plants are meeting all applicable regulations, the USDA said.

To view the final rule that will soon publish in the Federal Register, visit the FSIS website, here.