In what is the biggest meat recall in the history of this country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recalled 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef from a Chino meat-packing facility that recently earned notoriety for its inhumane treatment of cows and unethical business practice of forcing sick cows to the slaughter area. According to a Los Angeles Times article, USDA officials deemed meat from the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. “unfit for consumption” because of many reported lapses in federally mandated inspections.
There was widespread concern about this particular facility because it was a top supplier to the National School Lunch Program. However, USDA officials still maintain that there is no immediate health risk with food-borne illnesses with this recall as with others in the past involving E. Coli-tainted beef. But the practices of this meat-packing unit in Chino were clearly dangerous and unethical and have led to criminal charges against the managers. So far, there are no known reports of food-poisoning as a result of consuming meat from this facility.
Federal agency reports show that the company did not consistently contact a public health veterinarian as required when cattle became unable to walk after being inspected. Officials say there is a remote possibility that someone would become sick from eating this meat and that this recall is a matter of taking “abundant caution.” A video surreptitiously recorded by the Humane Society of the United States shows managers hitting a sick cow with a paddle or attempting to drag animals by their feet to take them to slaughter. By law, animals that cannot walk are banned from entering the food supply.
The meat involved in the recall includes beef products with the Westland, King Meat Co. Regal and Hallmark labels. Here is a link to an FAQ posted by USDA about this recall.
Although there are no known cases of food-poisoning, those who ate these brands of beef must be careful and watch out for symptoms. If you ate this beef and have already suffered the symptoms of food-poisoning, it is a good idea to preserve the meat so you can have it tested for contamination.
It is a good move on the part of USDA to issue this recall although there have been no known reports of illnesses. It is necessary to take this step especially because this company is a huge supplier for our school cafeterias nationwide. It’s certainly not worth the risk. This might also be a good time for the USDA to look into how this company slipped through the cracks and managed to pull off what they did. How many other meat-packing companies have gotten away with these illegal practices to boost profits? Will we ever hear about them?
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe food-borne illness or a case of food-poisoning, call Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. We may be able to help.