By JOSH FUNK
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal health officials are rethinking their approach to controlling salmonella in poultry plants in the hope of reducing the number of illnesses linked to the bacteria each year. The USDA says the industry has succeeded in reducing the level of salmonella contamination found in poultry plants in recent years, but that hasn’t translated into a significant reduction in the 1.35 million salmonella illnesses reported each year. So the agency wants to set up pilot projects that focus more on the strains of salmonella that cause the most illnesses and on steps farmers can take to reduce salmonella before chickens and turkeys are slaughtered.