Under pressure from lawmakers the Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a list of all schools nationwide that received beef included in last months recall.  Since the recall spanned a 2 year period, the complete list resulted in a 226 page document that named all school food authorities who received beef processed at the Westland/Hallmark slaughterhouse.

Even though there were no reported illness associated with the recall, the meat was recalled because some of the cows  processed could not stand on their own and are typically banned from the human food supply because they are more susceptible to illnesses including mad cow disease. While officials insist that the risk is very remote the incubation period for the human form of mad cow disease reportedly could be as long as long as 30 years.

Full List of School District

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I try to keep readers update on the developments in the Westland/ Hallmark Meats beef recall story.  Earlier today MSNBC reported that one of the workers charged with abuse plead guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail.

While all that was good and fine the story went on to report,

Downer cattle have been largely barred from the food supply since a mad cow disease scare in 2003. The cows pose a higher risk of disease, partly because they often wallow in feces. “

Downer cows have not been LARGELY BARRED, the cows this article was referring to were BANNED from the food supply.

The sentence that follows, “The cows pose a higher risk of disease, partly because they often wallow in feces”,  is even more bewildering because it has nothing to do with mad cow disease it is referring to E-coli contamination which comes from feces…. a disease not mentioned at all in this particular article. When read in the same paragraph a reader could easily conclude that feces have something to do with mad cow disease when in fact they are discussing the increased potential for E-coli contamination.

The fact that a cow can’t walk could indicate that the animal is suffering from the neurological symptoms associated with mad cow disease, but a non-ambulatory cow is also more likely to contaminate meat with E-coli because they are on the ground where cows poop. 

Side Stepping the Poo,

Olive Rockfish

By Nicole Gaouette, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 13, 2008
WASHINGTON — The president of the Chino meatpacking plant that triggered the largest beef recall in U.S. history admitted Wednesday that crippled cows, which are more likely to carry disease, probably entered the food supply at his company.
“Obviously my system broke down,” said Steve Mendell, president of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., once a major supplier to the school lunch program.Mendell initially told a House oversight subcommittee that “downer” cows at his plant “were not slaughtered, ground or sold.”But after lawmakers screened a graphic undercover video that showed ailing cows being jabbed with electric prods, beaten and rolled with forklifts toward slaughter, Mendell acknowledged that the four-minute clip did indeed show that at least two cows were processed into food.
Read the full story —> Panel Grills Packing Plant President
Again, panel members act like the problems in our food supply is new news someone should really be grilling them.
http://www.fda.gov/ora/about/enf_story/archive/2002/ch5/cvm1.htm
http://www.fda.gov/ora/about/enf_story/archive/2002/ch5/cvm1.htm
http://www.fda.gov/cvm/Sep_Oct01.htm
http://www.fda.gov/cvm/Sep_Oct.htm
http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/archive/awl2.htmhttp://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/archive/awl6.htm
http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/archive/awl130.pdf
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01061.html
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/enforce/2007/ENF00996.html
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no12/06-0965.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California have introduced a bill to stiffen penalties against slaughterhouses that illegally process cows too sick to stand.

Read the full story —> Senators Call for Crackdown