Don't worry! The tainted meat has already been eaten by schoolkids and poor people
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has ordered the largest meat recall in its history -- 143 million pounds of beef, a California meatpacker's entire production for the past two years -- because the company did not prevent sick animals from entering the U.S. food supply, officials said yesterday.
Despite the breadth of the sanction, USDA officials underscored their belief that the meat, distributed by Westland Meat Co., poses little or no hazard to consumers, and that most of it was eaten long ago.
The recall comes less than three weeks after the release of a videotape showing what the USDA later called "egregious violations" of federal animal care regulations by employees of a Westland partner, Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino.
Hallmark did not consistently bring in federal veterinarians to examine cattle headed for slaughter that were too sick or weak to stand on their own, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said. "Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection, [the USDA] has determined them to be unfit for human food, and the company is conducting a recall," he said in a statement.
About 37 million pounds of the meat -- cuts, ground beef and prepared products such as meatballs and burrito filling -- went to school lunch and other public nutrition programs, and "almost all of this product is likely to have been consumed," said Ron Vogel, a USDA administrator.
It's enough to make me turn vegetarian.
Except I would like to see the Hallmark executives turning on a spit over a slow fire.