USDA Changes Inspection Procedures

Violations of rules in California meat plant prompt change.

The recent beef recall that stemmed from rule violations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in Chino, Calif. has prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change how it conducts meat inspections.

"We're redirecting our inspectors, we're rotating them differently," says Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer. "We don't want them getting too cozy with the businesses they're working in and we've tightened up the time that cattle are in pens."

Schafer says USDA is looking at other ways of observing operations while not being seen themselves.

"We are doing covert operations; we are undercover looking at these plants when they don't know we're there," says Dr. Richard Raymond, under secretary of food safety. "The white van setting on the road with a flat tire might just have a camera in the window."

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