The next time there's a serious recall of meat or poultry in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will tell you if your local grocer had once sold any of the affected product.
USDA Secretary Edward Schafer announced the policy change Friday, following the nation's largest-ever recall of 143 million pounds of beef produced at a California slaughterhouse, MSNBC reported.
The policy is to take effect next month, Schafer said. Up till now, there's been no federal edict requiring the government to reveal where potentially tainted meat was sold.
While consumer groups applauded the move, they noted that it only applied to the most serious Class I recalls, thought to pose the greatest health risk.
"We're pleased that USDA will no longer keep consumers in the dark about recalled meat," said a news release from Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine. "Up until now, when USDA announced a recall of contaminated meat, it would only tell the public the states where the product was distributed. The specific names and locations of stores that got the product -- the information that can actually help the consumer -- were kept confidential."
The California recall would not have been affected by the new rule, since it was designated a less-significant Class II recall, Consumers Union noted.