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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

OIG says Westland/Hallmark abuse was an isolated event, but better federal oversight needed

If you can’t sleep here is something to read.  Bottom line is that Westland Hallmark was not a well run nor well regulated facility.  It literally shoved downer cows to their deaths (Video) and then fed them to the public, including kids in the school lunch program.

  • From an avid reader:
    Technically, a “downer cow” is one that is non-ambulatory when presented for antemortem inspection prior to slaughter. These cows all passed antemortem inspection. Because they were old, or because of a fall and injury, or whatever, they became non-ambulatory after having passed inspection, which includes both stationary and in motion inspection. If a cow becomes non-ambulatory after antemortem inspection, it was allowable at the time for the inspector to be called to the pens to re-inspect. If the inspector determined the cow was non-ambulatory because of an acute injury, she could still enter the facility for slaughter with a USDA Suspect tag, and undergo thorough post-mortem inspection to confirm the injury thought to contribute to the change in ambulatory status.
    That process was not followed here, and therefore the cows had not had the inspection level required by our regs and thus the recall. Not because we felt there was tainted meat or any measurable public health risk. They had ALL passed antemortem inspection while stationary and in motion with not evidence of chronic illness or CNS symptoms you would see with BSE.
    Sorry, but I still feel the need to defend the USDA at times. At other times I want to yell from a mountain top what they need to do differently to better protect the public’s health. But this was not one of those time.