SoCal slaughterhouse at center of beef recall
Brian A Kennedy | February 18, 2008 at 05:03 amby
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largest beef recall in US history is now focusing on a Southern California slaughterhouse, in which sick and crippled animals were abused and shoved with forklifts.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse that is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation.
The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the federal agency said. The company provided meat to various federal programs.
Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer said his department has evidence that Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became non-ambulatory after passing inspection, violating health regulations.
"Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection, Food Safety and Inspection Service has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall," Schafer said in a statement.
A phone message left for Westland president Steve Mendell was not returned Sunday.
Agriculture officials said the massive recall surpasses a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat was likely small.
Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten.
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