Largest Beef Recall In US History

@pyewacket (44036)
United States
February 18, 2008 10:22pm CST
I was watching the news very late at night and it mentioned about one of the biggest beef recalls in US history..some 143 million pounds of beef, and it's all due to cattle at a "factory farm" type environment, known as Hallmark/Westland Meat Packaging company and the beef processed there is beef from 2006 to just this year. Most of the cattle slaughtered are what is known as "downed" cattle, which technically speaking is cattle that should never be slaughtered for human consumption as there are serious health hazards in that the cattle may have mad cow disease among many other possible health risks. An investigative undercover video by the Humane Society shows how downed cattle are prodded repeatedly to force them up on their feet so they don't appear as "downed" cattle...if that doesn't work they simply use forklifts to lift the cattle on their way to slaughter. The real alarming fact is that this "potentially" diseased meat is processed and most of it is the frozen hamburgers supplied in the school systems...this meat is shipped to about 37 states nationwide Here's an article about this WASHINGTON (AFP) — US officials said there was only a "remote" chance of adverse health effects from beef in a massive recall as a probe continued Monday into a meat packing firm accused of multiple health violations. A top US Department of Agriculture official downplayed the public health risk the USDA revealed Sunday in announcing that a California company had voluntarily recalled about 143 million pounds (65 million kilos) of suspect beef. The largest meat recall in US history came amid a federal investigation into Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company's slaughter of cattle which had been abused with electric prods, beaten and forklifted into standing up to pass inspection. "We think the food supply is safe," said Kenneth Petersen, the assistant administrator for field operations for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA. "But we think this recall is important and we think it's important for parents to know that the schools are taking action to put those products on hold," he said in a CNN television interview. Richard Raymond, undersecretary for food safety, said officials believed "there is a remote probability that the recalled beef products could cause adverse health effects if consumed." USDA officials said that much of the recalled meat probably already has been eaten. Federal authorities said they did not have solid evidence of illnesses linked to the meat. The recall covers beef produced since February 2006 and distributed nationwide to wholesalers. Hallmark/Westland sold at least 37 million pounds of meat to the national school lunch program and other nutrition programs, including for the poor and the elderly, and for American Indians, run by the USDA during that time, according to officials. Schools in Washington state and California have removed beef from their lunch menus because they suspect it came from Hallmark/Westland. Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at the nonprofit consumers group, said: "Consumers have no way of knowing whether the store from which they've purchased their meat was involved in a recall." The Chino, California-based Hallmark/Westland halted operations in early February after the disclosure last month of a video secretly taped by the Humane Society of the United States in October and November. The video includes scenes of a Hallmark/Westland plant worker poking an electric prod into the eye of a fallen cow and a worker running a forklift's wheels over a cow's face and legs. "I've never heard a cow scream like that before," the voice of the unidentified narrator says. Officials said that an ongoing investigation has shown that the plant violated USDA rules regarding the treatment of so-called "downer" cattle -- animals that arrive at the slaughter plant but cannot stand up because of an illness or injury. Following the discovery of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in the US in 2003, the USDA forbade the slaughter of downer cattle to reduce the chance of BSE entering the human food chain. Those rules were relaxed slightly last year to allow USDA veterinarians to determine on a case-by-case basis the reason why a downer cow could not stand. Ill or diseased animals must be condemned under USDA regulations. Petersen said that Hallmark/Westland had failed to alert FSIS that cattle had fallen down after an FSIS inspector had found them healthy for slaughter, a "serious violation of regulations and that's really what led to the recall." "And because we inspected these animals first and then they went down, that is not at all typical of an animal that would be exhibiting clinical signs. So that's why we think this is the Class II recall, a remote probability," he said. The National Beef Cattlemen's Association said the recall was happening "out of an abundance of caution." "We can say with confidence that the beef supply is safe," the industry group said. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gIvJhHhMGMiZHb0usNdVZEtBFKEg Gee, I love that last line...that the beef supply is safe..oh, so why the recall? Here's also a link to the Humane Society itself that shows that video and a petition one can sign https://community.hsus.org/campaign/CA_2008_investigation?rk=K72IzAsqQcklE I don't know about you but I'm getting a bit fed up with all these recalls of food, but more importantly how animals are treated for slaughter...and it all boils down to one thing...the almighty dollar and how much profit these meat factories can get, not giving a shat about how the animals they have for animal consumption are taken care of or treated.
4 people like this
15 responses
• United States
19 Feb 08
I heard about this story in the news this morning. Its funny how the meat may have been processed back in 2006 and I heard from someone that this tape was out back in 2000. Its scary to think that this meat could be in the school system...Do you know how much school lunch is now a days?
4 people like this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I don't know about where you are, lunch here is $1.50 for the kids who actually pay full price. From what I understand most kids are on reduced cost or free lunches. I believe reduced cost is like $.80. My son is allowed to eat school lunch on one day, pizza day. That is the only day of the week that food does not come from the school systems. A local pizza parlor provides the pizza. That meat IS in the school system and has been for years. Westland is one of the main suppliers for school beef. As of early last week the meat was pulled or put on hold by the USDA. They knew the recall was coming this week.
4 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
It's funny, when I was going to school there was no such thing as school lunches..we kids bought our own in our "cute" little lunch boxes complete with themos for a beverage...it was homemade foods, like sandwichs that my mom would make for me...gee, maybe we should go back to that idea, no? Least kids wouldn't be running the risk of health hazards like they do with school supplied lunches
3 people like this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
19 Feb 08
The school lunch by use is deplorable at best. It is riddled with sodium and mismatched foods - and they wonder why the kids don't want to eat! On pizza day they get corn and oranges...who thought that one up....and they don't even have to get the sides. I make my sons lunch every day but pizza day. I pack him his fruits or veggies, his yogurt and a organic sandwich. I wish they would do away with school lunches, but on the same note often that is the healthiest meal that some kids get. That in and of itself is pretty scary.
4 people like this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
19 Feb 08
This is the part that gets me the most : "The video includes scenes of a Hallmark/Westland plant worker poking an electric prod into the eye of a fallen cow and a worker running a forklift's wheels over a cow's face and legs. "I've never heard a cow scream like that before," .... " Ugh. It rips my heart out. I wish we could do the same to all the people that allowed this to happen. Why did it take so long for anyone to do something? From what I understand animal rights groups have been reporting this company - and many others - for years................
3 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
Well I've known about the horrors of the farm factories for quite awhile..all factory farm animals are treated horribly...not the smaller farmers that use humane methods of killing the animals, but the big food factories that supply even the chicken for KFC--okay I know some people HATE Peta, but thanks to them they have brought to light of how consumer food is raised and slaughtered. The Humane Society has been on this too, as well as ASPCA...unfortunately what needs to be done is have every single person be aware of what is really going on, as I have a feeling most don't...only us animal lovers and activists...and unfortunately too, most think us animal activists are nuts...I'm no means a vegan...though I have cut down on meat....I try to get organically raised meat and yes, it's a hell of a lot more expensive, but I rather do that, then "contribute" to the farm factories..Why our govt isn't really going after these places is a mystery to me. It's only going to be a matter of time however, when some really horrific contamination of foods occurs and people get deathly sick from eating tainted food, will something happen...
2 people like this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I have been on the animal rights page for a long time. I will be 30 at the end of this year, so almost 20 years. I agree that some animal activities are crazy but they are needed. Honestly, I wish that they would run animal cruelty stories every day.I know articles like these help, along with those commercials Purina has out - the ones where the dogs don't get adopted or get abandoned by their family (that one had me bawling the other night). Just wish people would do more...heck WTF is the USDA and FSIS for?
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
Oh God, tell me about it...just last night they had an add for the ASPCA and encouraging people to adopt pets..they showed all those sad faced cats and dogs and I couldn't stop crying.
1 person likes this
@polachicago (19075)
• United States
19 Feb 08
Silence - body in silence
It took one million cows to have 143 millions pounds of meat recall. It is more than horror for me. Evidence shows that we are designed to be herbivores on a biological level. This madness has got to end. "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."Albert Einstein FDA knew about farm practices for a long time. They took an action after HS video was view by millions on Internet. We can all communicate with animals. Have you ever hear them cried? I did... It makes me wonder about humanity.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I think we can only blame ourselves for what is happening or at least society in general...It was different years ago, when people actually raised their own food products including raising their own chickens and cattle...animals were respected then and taken care of, even though they were to be eventually be on the dinner table. Many indigenous peoples like the Native Americans who hunted for their meat foods would actually say a prayer over the animal after they killed it to beg forgiveness for taking it's life. But now there are just too many of us population wise...yes, there still are small family run farmers who provide their meat foods to market and are called "organic"...my one friend upstate lives in an area where there are numerous small family run farms and are suppliers of meat to the local markets...she says the animals are raised humanely and killed humanely. But this is a very small percentage..For the millions of fast food chains, like KFC rely on these farm factories and the only interest there is the profits that can be made...how many animals can be raised the fastest...pumping them up with chemicals to make them grow faster and fatter and keeping them in the most deplorable conditions imaginable Now I'm by no means a vegan...yes I do still eat meat, but I go out of my way to get the organic kind and I don't eat as much red meat as I used to and the one supermarket does have "organically" raised meats...I at least don't eat at fast foods places..haven't in decades as I remember the last few times the food just didn't taste good...tasted like shat actually..and I can't help wondering...you know that phrase "You are what you eat?" Well I can't help wonder if people who do eat at fast food places like KFC, Burger King, etc can ever realize the pain that animal went through to be their meal--mmm...think I have the buddings of another discussion here..LOL--I mean if those very same people saw the videos of how farm factory animals were kept, would they ever want to eat there again? sorry for my rambling..just some thoughts here
1 person likes this
@polachicago (19075)
• United States
19 Feb 08
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found in 2006 that livestock production generates 18 percent of greenhouse gases worldwide — more than the entire transportation sector of cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined. Cows constantly belch methane from their four stomachs, and lagoons of pig effluent release the gas into the air. Much of the world's beef comes from deforested areas (70 percent of former Amazon rainforest is now used for cattle grazing), a one-two punch from the loss of carbon dioxide-absorbing trees and the addition of more animals. Going back to meat industry. Meat from large farms is poisoning in general. It promotes cancer grow and obesity.
2 people like this
@polachicago (19075)
• United States
20 Feb 08
Consumers create huge demand, it is time to educate consumers....it is not going the right way... Nature will strike back sooner or later, as we are all connected on spiritual level.
@gmakesmoney (2923)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I saw the video on the news and it made me so sad. It makes me wonder that one question... is eating meat wrong? I mean not just morally but vibe wise too. What kind of affect is meat from a badly slaughtered and mistreated animal going to have on our bodies? Especially for people who maybe extra sensative to vibes and feelings? It sounds kinda nutty but if you think about it makes total sense. People don't want to live in a house where someone was murdered... because of it's "bad vibes" and in the Spanish culture the intent someone had when preparing food is just as important as the ingredients. If made with bad intent or "de mala gana" (feeling resentful that you have to cook the meal when you don't feel like it) it's believed that it will make those who eat it sick and it won't taste right. So is eating the meat of animals who were very badly abused and sick and murdered for the purpose of you eating it, bad karma? I've switched to eating mainly organic meats and at first I thought this is going to be soooooo expensive. And it is if I shop at places like Super Walmart, which sells everything else super cheap so you figure if the organic meat is expensive there it will be everywhere else. And by the way... why does the meat at Walmart always look so on the verge of going bad? Well one day while at Super Target I noticed that the majority of their meat was either organic or all natural by small private farms and guess what? My meat costs have been cut in half! The cuts of meat are better, look healthy, are very well priced and cheaper than the regular grade meat anywhere else. We now buy top quality cuts when before it was nothing but ground beef or turkey. Which really is what I think is key in turning around the abuse in the meat industry. Yoga Magazine once had an article about all natural and organic meats from smaller farms and how it's all so much more humaine, healthier and a whole lot more earth friendly and a great alternative for those who want to do good yet not give up meat. Smaller farms are a lot easier to keep up with and monitor than huge factories. If you have a billion cows that you process a day, there's no way you can be on top of quality control. Now when you're processing 100, it's much more manageable and instead of 5,000 half a$$ed employees running around doing whatever and however you can afford to properly train 200 of them instead. That's my 2 cents... and off the soapbox she goes, lol.
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
Funny you should ask about the vibe thing...LOL...I just did a discussion now about that...sort of a philosophical thing asking if we eat foods of animals raised in such farm factories are we eating their pain and cruelty they felt? Is that why we're so much sicker than before? Oh I know about that concept too about the "vibes" one can put into preparing a meal...ever read or see the movie version "Like Water For Chocolate" If you haven't watch it or read the book! It hits on this very issue...whenever the woman prepared food in feeling of love every one was happy, when she prepared food in sadness or anger the people got sick
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Feb 08
I love that movie, it's originally in Spanish Como Agua Para El Chocolate. I remember watching it when I was little and my mom reading the book. It's so true too, what you feel when you prepare something for someone does have an effect. If I'm feeling sick or in a bad mood I refuse to cook. I don't believe in cooking unless I'm doing it with love and good will. I just saw that other discussion, lol great minds.
2 people like this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
19 Feb 08
The Super WM by you sells organic meat? Wow that is hard find here. Some of the local grocery stores sell organic and of course whole foods does. I don't find the meat @ whole foods to be any more expensive than that at Super WM. What I love about Whole Foods is that they have their own butchers on staff and everything is done right in front of you.
2 people like this
@Ldyjarhead (10157)
• United States
20 Feb 08
I have one word for this = despicable. Ok, more words ... I wish I had the willpower to be a vegetarian. This incident is not isolated, its just one that got caught on tape. The things all animals endure for the enjoyment of humans are inhumane (un-human?) to say the least.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
This isn't the only kind of video about cruelty to animals in farm factory situations..go to the Peta website and they have a whole series of videos of how chickens, pigs, turkeys, etc are treated in farm factories...yes, despicable
1 person likes this
@Ldyjarhead (10157)
• United States
20 Feb 08
Oh believe me, I know. I've also seen horse auctions where they bring in some that can hardly stand on their own. They go for whatever few $$$ they can fetch from the killers/meat market. I've also read a very good book recently by a woman that started a refuge of sorts. Don't remember the exact title, but it was something about a horse singing? It had a lot of info about the industries that cause animals pain/suffering for man's pleasure and the almighty dollar.
1 person likes this
@catjane (1036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
The poor cattle, how cruel. I've just about had it with recalls too. In fact a couple of years ago I ate peanut butter that was recalled and got sick from it. It's in litigation right now but I'll probably never see a cent from it. I'm seriously thinking of becoming a vergetarian. I don't even like meat any more, not even pork. It all just kind of digusts me, but I don't know how to cook vegetarian so I eat it from time to time. I make one vegatarian dish a week and last sunday, we had salads for dinner with Asiago bread. It was good and no meat! thanks for the heads up on the beef. So where's the beef?? Not in my stomache LOL.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
Problem is, look at all the recalls also for produce..spinach, lettuce, blueberries...yeesh..I've cut down on eating beef too but I've seen videos of how chickens are kept in factory farms too...just as disgusting
1 person likes this
@catjane (1036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
I know everything on this planet is becoming tainted, air, water, food supply. What can we do about it? What a legacy to be leaving our children and grandchildren....sad.
2 people like this
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
19 Feb 08
This is another reason that I'm glad 90% of our meat is deer that my husband gets himself. We check out that places we take it to be butchered and although they're usually someone's garage, I think we're better off than buying meat from the stores!
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
Well unfortunately folks like me don't have much of a choice being that I'm in a city environment,...we have to rely on shipments of food to come into the stores...and there's just not much call for deer meat around here..LOL
2 people like this
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
20 Feb 08
I used to be in the same predicament. It would have been nice to know my husband when my kids were younger and I was buying meat all the time!
2 people like this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
19 Feb 08
since it started in 2006 I bet every bit of it has been eatten by now! even if froozen they have a date on there when its not good to eat. Sure its safe now for it is all consumed lol. Hate what the cows go throw before killed for meat. These cows or cattle should have been put down way before they got to the slaughter house! thanks for this post I heard about it but didnt go in to it like you did. yup I am gett ing tires of food recalls to for we probably have already eatten it grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
It makes you wonder though...how much food do we eat that sometime later might be recalled at a later date and processed now? We sometimes don't hear of these recalls until months or years later...like with this meat first processed in 2006?
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
20 Feb 08
yup I just know it is all in our tummies so they wont get much back lolololol
2 people like this
• India
19 Feb 08
just goes to show that human apathy and callousness is a worldwide phenomenon no matter where you are. And to think that the meat is mainly used to prepare school lunch…they did not even think about the health of children. Very recently we had a similar incident regarding chickens and ducks in India. There was an outbreak of bird flu in some farm and pretty soon it spread and millions of birds were affected. Eventually the birds were killed by officials from the health department with a huge financial loss to the local small-time farmers. But when such facts are suppressed by profitable enterprises, it does become a little difficult to accept that corporate houses are actually playing with our health and getting away with it. Ideally, the license of such factories should be cancelled or suspended but that wont be done coz there are a lot of other issues involved, employment of so many being the primary factor.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
Tp quote you:.."Ideally, the license of such factories should be cancelled or suspended but that wont be done coz there are a lot of other issues involved, employment of so many being the primary factor. .." Well not only that, but here in our country no doubt these companies also have lobbyists in the govt. who fight for their right to continue to exist--and have a lot of influence to remain active
1 person likes this
• India
20 Feb 08
Yes, and the main reason is what we all know...where will these political parties be if not for the hefty contributions by these corporations? Its all a game of 'you scratch my back, I scratch yours'.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 08
I'm rendered speechless. Call me a communist if you wish but I think this world would be much better off without MONEY!
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I sometimes think we'd be better off too without money..LOL
2 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 08
I'm glad I'm not the only one :)
2 people like this
@LittleMel (14055)
• Canada
20 Feb 08
so they run the wheels over the cow's face, and then poke the cow's eye - I'll see if I can do this to them and not being charged with murder. If I am not strong enough to do this, I hope someone else will do it to them, while they are ill or injured. Let's see how much money can save them. I can't watch the video, pye, just can't bring myself to do it. But I believe something will be done about it. I hope it will happen soon.
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
It's about time there were real severe regulations for farm factory animals period, at least to treat them more humanely.
1 person likes this
@POOHGIRL (213)
• United States
19 Feb 08
Hell these days all types of food is killing people
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
You're so right! :(
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Feb 08
I quit eating beef about 5 years ago and after hearing this I will never eat it again.I heard that the people that abused the cows lost their jobs.I would hope that they would be put in jail also for what they did.The only thing that can make us feel any better about those men is what goes around comes around.There is just so much abuse in this world and the only thing we can do is hope that the people responsible get what is comming to them.
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
The problem is, is that chickens aren't raised any better at factory farms either, just as bad
1 person likes this
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
19 Feb 08
I second your sentiments. sadly the government is working hard to remove the possiblity of people privately raising their food - this will just increase such problems in the future.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
20 Feb 08
I didn't realize the govt. was trying to stop people privately raising their food...isn't this against some kind of constitutional rights? why shouldn't people want to raise their own food?
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Feb 08
All of this really makes you wonder how pure and above board anything is now a days. Besides the fact that the companies all want to turn as many bucks as they can you have the added consideration of todays lackadasial workforce. A workforce unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions or lack of actions is a major factor as well.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
19 Feb 08
The government doesn't help much..the FDA is a joke really, and also no doubt you have high pressured lobbyists placating the govt. as well
1 person likes this