The US department of agriculture has proposed a new “test and hold” procedure for meat and poultry products that aims to reduce the amount of “unsafe food” reaching the shelves.

Under the proposal, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would be able to hold products from commerce until test results for harmful substances are received. Currently, when FSIS collects a sample for testing, the sampled products are requested but not required to be held until test results are known.

“While many establishments have similar policies already in place, this proposed requirement will allow government to provide an additional safeguard to ensure food safety,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“Meat and poultry products will be prevented from reaching consumers until our inspectors have the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate test results. This approach will help us enhance protection of the food supply, reduce recalls, and ensure that all consumers are getting the safest food possible.”