The U. S.  Department of Agriculture has long recommended that meat and poultry processors, after testing samples for contaminants, hold back the tested lots from sale until results are in.

"However, some establishments are releasing products into commerce prior to receiving test results which poses a threat to public health."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a proposal from the USDA that would stop that practice for good making a "test and hold" policy mandatory.

Vilsack says if that policy had been in effect in 2007 and 2008, for example, we could have avoided 44 class one recalls.

Class one recalls involve products that are probably health hazards and Vilsack says, even though many processors already follow test and hold policies, making it mandatory would further reduce contaminant related illness.

"Our best estimate is that this is going to help prevent  up to 25,000 illnesses. So that would suggest that there's significant work to be done in this area which is why we are making it mandatory."

There is a 90 day public comment period on this with no firm date set for when it could take effect.