Due to the 2007 recall of over 30,000,000 pounds of hamburger – with hundreds sickened – and the recent recall of meat from the downer cow problem, the Senate Select Committee on Food-borne Illness will meet Monday, February 25, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 3191 of the California State Capitol to see what can be done to address these serious food safety issues. I have been asked to attend and testify. As Senator Florez in part wrote today in the California Progressive Report:
As thousands of pounds of frozen ground beef sit “on hold” in school cafeterias across the nation while the USDA determines whether or not it is safe for our children to eat, I have scheduled a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Food-borne Illness into the events that got us into this situation, as well as other disturbing issues brought to light by the investigation. The USDA is investigating because video footage taken by individuals from the Humane Society shows two workers at Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Company essentially torturing several sick cows to keep them on their feet so they will be deemed eligible for slaughter. There are serious health considerations behind the ban on slaughtering such “downer cattle” for human consumption, such as E. coli or even mad cow disease, which the animals’ staggering may indicate. The thought that workers for a company which provides meat through the USDA to school districts and nutrition programs for the poor and elderly would go to such lengths to sneak a sick cow into the food chain, at great risk to the public health, is a frightening development for which the public deserves answers.
See you in Sacramento on the 25th. I am then off to Washington D.C. to testify on Tuesday, February 26 in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Contaminated Food: Private Sector Accountability. The hearing is at 10:00 a.m. in room 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.