On Friday, two former employees of the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company were charged by the San Bernadino District Attorney for felony animal cruelty. On Sunday, USDA announced additional actions as a result of the ongoing investigation.
"USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has evidence that Hallmark/Westland did not consistently contact the FSIS public health veterinarian in situations in which cattle became non-ambulatory after passing ante-mortem inspection, which is not compliant with FSIS regulations," says Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. "Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall."
Operations at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing remain under suspension by FSIS. The products destined for the Federal food assistance programs, including the National School Lunch Program, will now be removed from schools and other holding facilities and destroyed.
"We applaud state and federal actions to investigate and correct the situation it found in this single plant among the thousands that work every day to deliver our high-quality, nutritious and safe beef products to consumers in this country and around the world," says Dave Bateman, chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. "The beef checkoff remains committed to doing what it can to maintain these high standards."
The Office of the Inspector General and the Food Safety and Inspection Service continue the investigation. We will respond immediately if further findings warrant. Details about this recall and USDA actions are available at www.usda.gov/actions.