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“The fallout from an undercover slaughterhouse investigation has hit Washington State.

About 80 school districts in the state are scrambling to remove potentially tainted beef from the menu…

The undercover investigation video from the Humane Society shows sick downer cows tortured and then forklifts force them into the hallmark meat packing slaughterhouse in Southern California, even though the USDA has banned them from the food supply…

The slaughterhouse supplies the Westland Meat Company, which in turn supplies the majority of the school districts in Washington State…

At least 77 school districts and private schools in Washington were alerted. The USDA has asked the meat be placed on hold while the agency conducts its own investigation.

While downer cows can pose a higher risk of E. coli, salmonella, and mad cow disease, so far there is no evidence that this beef is unsafe,” quoting KING-5 News in Seattle.

“The Food Service Department of Yelm Community Schools is in the process of checking our stock for these products. We know that most of our beef products are not included in the USDA recall. However, until we receive more information from the USDA and guidance from the Child Nutrition Services division of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, all elementary and secondary cafeterias in our district will not be serving beef,” quoting Nancy LeRoy, Food Service Director for Yelm Community Schools.

CNN reports what is at issue, “The Humane Society of the United States released a video Wednesday [Jan. 30.] it says shows mistreatment of “downed” cows at a California slaughterhouse — and one lawmaker said it raises questions about the safety of the nation’s food supply.
The video shows Hallmark Meat Packing Co. workers administering repeated electric shocks to downed cows — animals that are too sick, weak or otherwise unable to stand on their own. Workers are seen kicking cows, jabbing them near their eyes, ramming them with a forklift and shooting high-intensity water up their noses in an effort to force them to their feet for slaughter.

The society says the video was shot last year by an undercover investigator who wore a hidden camera under his clothes when he worked at the facility.

Hallmark Meat Packing Co., based in Chino, California, sells beef to its sister company, Westland Meat, which distributes it to various federal programs, including the National School Lunch Program.”

More can be found on the The Human Society of the United States website.

Posted by Steve on February 2, 2008 at 6:22 am | Permalink

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