California Firm Recalls 143 Million Pounds of Beef

February 18, 2008

Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., a Chino, Calif., establishment recalled approximately 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef products that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) determined to be unfit as human food.

FSIS found evidence the establishment failed to comply with federal regulations by inconsistently contacted public health veterinarians in situations where cattle became non-ambulatory after passing ante-mortem inspections.

Non-ambulatory disabled livestock (“downers”) are livestock unable to rise from a recumbent position or unable to walk, including, but not limited to, those with broken appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, nerve paralysis, fractured vertebral column, or metabolic conditions.

In July 2007, FSIS issued a final rule prohibiting of the use of such “downer” cattle for human food. The ruling said a cow becoming non-ambulatory after passing an ante-mortem inspection must be re-examined by a public health veterinarian to determine whether the animal can proceed to slaughter.

FSIS said the meat packing company’s noncompliant activities occurred occasionally over the past two years and therefore all beef product produced during that period was determined to be unfit for human consumption.

The inspection service determined the meat packing company failed to seek evidence of disease, injury, or other signs of abnormalities from the “downer” meat therfore said there was a remote probability the recalled beef could cause adverse health effects if consumed.

The products subject to this recall were sent to wholesale distributors nationwide in bulk packages and are not available for direct purchase by consumers.

Source: FSIS http://www.fsis.usda.

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