USDA Recalls 143 Million Pounds of Beef

Following up on my prior post about Westland Meat / Hallmark Meat Packing Company, he USDA today announced a recall of 143 million pounds of beef.

Most of the beef has already been consumed, according to the USDA.  No criminal charges have been filed (yet) but I hope they throw the book at these guys.  Wayne Parcelle of the Humane Society is quoted on KOMO-TV tonight as saying the guiding principle at the company was that “no cow is a downer.”

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3 Responses to “USDA Recalls 143 Million Pounds of Beef”


  1. 1 Harry Katz February 17, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    So this is one case out of what, dozens, hundreds? This is what is bound to happen when Republican administrations call for “less government” and “less government oversight.” They claim government stifles freedom. Of course the meat lobby continues to pay off congressman to look the other way.

    There must be oversight. There must be a congressional investigation. The inhumanity of it all disgusts any being who considers themselves human.

    Vegetarians need not be the only ones to be disgusted by this. And being disgusted shouldn’t be the only reaction. Action is needed, and the most direct and most useful way is to contact our congressman and ask not only for legislation to prevent this from happening again, but for heavy fines and significant jail time to be levied against companies that choose to torture animals.

    We should engage in a boycott of red meat for a significant period of time to send a message to the beef companies. Anyone who’s interested in engaging in a dialogue to start this is welcome to contact me.

  2. 2 Mark Wilhelms February 18, 2008 at 11:40 am

    To STEVE MENDELL, President of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co (see below)

    Nice letter Steve but I can’t believe any of it. Myself along with millions of other Americans are Red meat eaters and are so because WE believe that these animals are treated with dignity and care when killed. You will have to do much better than this letter to convince me now. Steve, you need to show some true leadership and character by leading, not only the reform of WESTLAND/HALLMARK MEAT CO but every other Slaughterhouse in America. You are about to become the “Poster Child” for animal abuse across the country! If you really truly believe in the words below and you want the American public to do so as well, you need to turn this around and become a champion of animal rights reform! If I were you I would strongly consider your next career move or consider resigning before the board and the American public forces you to in disgrace.

    Mark Wilhelms, Chicago, IL

    WESTLAND/HALLMARK MEAT CO.

    February 3, 2008

    As President of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. I want to reassure our customers and consumers that our company has met the highest standards for harvesting and processing meat under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. A fulltime USDA veterinary medical officer has been assigned to our facility for many years, and he oversees the work of three inspectors in the harvest operation and another inspector assigned to the processing operations. In addition, we have had a full time official from the USDA’s Grading Service in our operation for the purpose of ensuring contractual compliance for the meat we sell to the USDA commodity program.

    During 2007, we had 17 third party audits of our operation to confirm that we meet the statutorily mandated humane handling and food safety standards. In addition we have conducted 12 internal audits by our own personnel to ensure that such standards are met. We also, conduct weekly humane handling audits based on standards set forth in the American Meat Institute’s (AMI), Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide 2007 Edition, which was authored by Dr. Temple Grandin, a world renowned expert of humane handling practices. Complete documentation of this activity has been made available to the USDA investigation team currently at our plant.

    Words cannot accurately express how shocked and horrified I was at the depictions contained on the video that was taken by an individual who worked at our facility from October 3 thru November 14, 2007. We have taken swift action regarding the two employees identified on the video and have already implemented aggressive measures to ensure all employees follow our humane handling policies and procedures. We are also cooperating with the USDA investigators on the allegations of inhumane handling treatment which is a serious breech of our company’s policies and training.

    As part of our own investigation, we have retained an outside consultant to take an independent look at our operations. He is a veterinarian who worked for FSIS in a supervisory position for 26 years all over the U.S. He spent two days in our facility with full and free access to all documentation and plant personnel. He told us in a written report that our records and programs are “the best he has ever seen in any plant.” We have provided his report to the USDA.

    We have voluntarily suspended our operations pending the completion of the USDA investigation. We are dedicating our full efforts and resources to fully cooperate with the USDA investigative team that has been assigned to our plant.

    Finally, I proudly assure our customers that we comply with all USDA requirements, including the requirement that only ambulatory livestock may enter the harvest facility to be processed for human food. I am confident that we have met this high regulatory standard.

  3. 3 TPivnick February 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I AM ASHAMED TO KNOW THAT MY COUNTRY HAS COMPANIES THAT ARE DOING THIS IN 2008. I AM EMBARRASSED THAT WE DO NOT RESPECT OURSELVES ENOUGH TO DEMAND BETTER. I AM MORTIFIED THAT DESPITE OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THESE ACTIVITIES, WE WILL CONTINUE TO PURCHASE BEEF THAT HAS BEEN PROCURRED AT THE SAKE OF AN INNOCENT ANIMALS TORTURE. ISN’T DEATH FOR THESE ANIMALS ENOUGH? MUST WE HAVE SOME COMPANIES DO IT IN SUCH A MANNER AS TO HAVE A TERRIFIED COW MOOING FOR MERCY IN HIS LAST MINUTES OF LIFE?
    (written by Susan Faith–please read entire article “Mooing to Death” on http://www.purplepeople.com)


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