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Keep Them Dogies Moving

CNN reports USDA orders recall of 143 million pounds of beef

(CNN) — A slaughterhouse that has been accused of mistreating cows agreed Sunday to recall 143 million pounds of beef in what federal officials called the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Keith Williams, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman, said investigators have found no cases of illness related to the recalled meat.

But Dick Raymond, the undersecretary of agriculture for food safety, said there was a “remote probability” that the meat from the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in Chino, California, could cause illness in humans.

When you have to move a supposedly not-dead cow with a forklift because it can no longer walk, that is not an indication of a healthy animal.

CNN provides a list of Products affected by beef recall from the following brands:

  • WESTLAND MEAT CO.
  • KING MEAT CO.
  • REGAL brand
  • HALLMARK MEAT PACKING

One of the story bullet points is: “Company supplies federal school lunch program and some fast-food chains”

A note to Hamburger Helper – I think you need some fine tuning on your ad placements.

10 comments

1 Michael { 02.18.08 at 4:06 am }

Even one child with Creutzfeld-Jacob as a result of this is a tragedy.

2 fallenmonk { 02.18.08 at 7:44 am }

From what I have read it is highly likely that most of this meat has already been consumed. I will guarantee none of it by yours truly.

3 Jack K { 02.18.08 at 10:03 am }

It appears we have yet another opportunity to give a hearty thanks to the Bush Administration for its on-going efforts to downsize various unnecessary federal functions like agricultural inspections…

4 Bryan { 02.18.08 at 1:33 pm }

Based on the list of products I would think this stuff can appear in anything that says meat protein or beef by-products on the label, as well as the standard hamburger sources.

If they have video, it means that someone has been trying to get something done for a while and decided to conduct the video taping to get some action.

A fine is the only thing that will happen to this company, whereas an individual would end up in jail.

5 Cookie Jill { 02.18.08 at 2:50 pm }

I think we should all just call it “Mystery Meat” and avoid it all if we don’t know where it comes from and how. It just might be a cloned dead cow that’s been processed.

Consumers may not be able to avoid cloned food

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/02/18/MN2EUSFR0.DTL

6 Bryan { 02.18.08 at 3:00 pm }

Cloning makes no sense with food animals. It is an unneeded additional expense to farmers and ranchers. It might make a limited amount of sense with race horses and show animals, but why spend money on something that Nature is very efficient at producing – offspring.

7 Steve Bates { 02.18.08 at 11:24 pm }

“… but why spend money on something that Nature is very efficient at producing – offspring.” – Bryan

Exactly. My farmer granddad would almost certainly have scoffed at the notion that cloning was in any way necessary or desirable… and he kept up with (and used) the latest scientific advances in agriculture, when he thought they would help him produce a better crop or better livestock. In my personal experience, working farmers are seldom fools about such things.

You might think that a sprout-eater like me would shrug his shoulders about the matter. Not so. Even aside from my many friends and colleagues who are carnivores, those of us who consume milk products have a direct interest in the health of the herd. And while I do not personally consider humanely killing an animal for food to be abuse (humans are natural omnivores, and become vegetarians only by conscious choice), what I saw on those videos of Westland can bear no reasonable interpretation other than cruelty to those critters.

The way to avoid future occurrences of such incidents is simple: the USDA must be empowered and adequately funded to perform full and frequent inspections of virtually the entire meat supply process. In one of life’s ironies, this solution should also reduce cruelty to the animals themselves.

8 Bryan { 02.19.08 at 12:09 am }

If a down cow doesn’t respond to a tail twist, you call the vet. Cows will decide to lay down for their own reasons, but if you twist their tail, they’ll rethink that action. You can’t milk a cow that’s laying down, so knowing how to get them up is part of running a dairy farm.

Obviously those cows were sick, and if you’re running a legitimate business, you don’t use them for food until you find out what’s wrong. You isolate them and have a vet check them.

Corporations don’t care, because the worst that can happen is a fine.

Throw a few CEOs and their boards in prison, and attitudes will change.

9 LadyMin { 02.20.08 at 1:39 pm }

This is definitely NOT new information. People have been trying to get this some major airtime for quite a while. The USDA has been pretending the beef supply is safe for years.

In 2005 I did some research on the subject for an article and found that Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian and now whistleblower, alleged there is a cover-up by the US Government. He made some very scary allegations at the time, such as downer cows being used to supply meat to the federal school lunch program and that cows that had tested positive for mad cow disease at private laboratories were ruled negative by the USDA. See this 2002 survelience video made by KIRO-TV [Seattle].

It doesn’t surprise me that the government would hide this as long as possible. The beef industry has a very powerful lobby. Remember what happened to Oprah when she said naughty things about beef?

10 Bryan { 02.20.08 at 2:34 pm }

Oprah won because she can afford lawyers, regular people get to pay for the lawyers who are fighting against them and the government that allows this to happen. They have gutted all regulation and in the most egregious cases levy pitifully minor fines.

It’s time to start putting people in prison for this stuff, and shut down some companies, then things might change. But nothing will change with the politicians we have today, they are all serving corporate interests first.