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Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

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  • mixin
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    Finally!!!

    4 at slaughterhouse behind beef recall indicted
    ...
    Slaughterhouse co-owners Jesse Amaral Jr. and Robert Singleton and employees Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera were charged with distribution of adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat.
    ...

    Prosecutors alleged that the owners schemed with employees to slaughter about 79 cows with skin cancer of the eye rather than stopping plant operations during inspector lunch breaks. Then, the government alleges, plant workers swapped the heads of diseased cattle with heads of healthy cows to hide them from inspectors.

    ...

    Leave a comment:


  • Emily
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/201...ll-questioned/
    USDA Inspectors’ Role In Petaluma Slaughterhouse Recall Questioned
    March 26, 2014 12:02 AM


    ...

    In Rancho’s case, one inspector, Lynnette Thompson, did notice problems. In company documents obtained by KPIX5, Thompson is quoted as saying “most of the cull cows…have cancer and should be condemned.”

    She flagged that to her supervisors. But Rancho blamed her instead, saying condemning cows un-necessarily “slows down our production.”

    USDA officials even came by the slaughterhouse at least three times, to check things out.

    They found nothing wrong, but transferred Thompson at management’s request. “She was not fired, not disciplined, she was just sent to a different plant,” said Corbo. “The USDA has a big responsibility here in terms of what happened.”

    As for Lynnette’s supervisor, Lardizabal, he retired just two days before the recall was first announced. “It’s suspicious,” said Corbo...
    So when an inspector does her job, she gets ignored, then transferred. No wonder USDA seems unfazed by putting small ethical ranchers out of business. They and their wholesome products just get in the way of the drama.

    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2014/0...new-management
    Petaluma Slaughterhouse Upheaval Continues, Despite Reopening
    Mina Kim | April 7, 2014

    ...
    “Beautiful little chuck-eye pot roast that could feed 10 people a beautiful meal,” Niman said. “It’s going to the dump.”

    The recall has left Niman with 100,000 pounds of grass-fed beef that he can’t sell. Niman was left with so much meat because he decided to put aside nearly a quarter of his 2013 inventory to sell at peak times later. That decision could now cost him up to $400,000. He said the saddest part is that his animals will have died for nothing....
    Last edited by Emily; August 19, 2014, 01:01 PM. Reason: Fixed link.

    Leave a comment:


  • mixin
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    Also included in the recall (from Emily's link) are gallons of beef blood sold to wholesale only. Of course I thought: "What on earth are the wholesale markets doing with beef blood in regards to our food?"

    Found with a quick Google search:
    "Cow's blood enzyme used to glue food; raises health, faith issues."
    Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/306060#ixzz2w2gGHPzU

    Revealed: How chefs use 'meat glue' made from pig blood to stick steaks together
    Rancher Nigel Tudor told WVCB.com the white powder, or transglutaminase enzyme, is made by 'taking the clotting agents out of pigs' and cows' blood' and using it 'to clot together chunks of meat'.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz2w2grRqq2

    Some think there may be some safety issues involved with this. Most contamination is found on the outside of beef and is killed by cooking. With this meat glue process, various small chunks are glued together and bacteria may be trapped on the inside of the finished product.

    Others think it's fine and use it in a lot of different products
    What is ?meat glue?? Transglutaminase or thrombian binds pieces of meat to ?fake a steak?
    The animal-derived product, generally deemed safe, is also in yogurt, sausage and other foods

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-styl...#ixzz2w2lPh67o

    Regardless of the criminal investigation, I think the govt needs to inform the public as to exactly what this problem is. Where is the transparency we were promised??

    Leave a comment:


  • Amish Country
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    From what A butcher told me the head is one is one of the first thing a USDA inspector checks, eyes, glands etc. Slaughter houses have a special rack just for beef heads to facilitate the job of the USDA inspector.

    Leave a comment:


  • Emily
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    This just keeps rolling along:

    http://www.startribune.com/business/249659231.html
    Large meat recall grows to Minnesota

    Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
    Updated: March 12, 2014 - 10:08 AM

    Minnesota has been added to a long list of states ? now numbering 45 ? affected by an unusual beef recall stemming from the slaughter of ?diseased and unsound? animals, according to federal regulators.

    ...

    ?It?s a little bizarre,? said Ryan Osterholm, a food safety attorney at Pritzker Olsen in Minneapolis. ? ?Diseased and unsound animals? isn?t common language in recalls,? he said. ?The USDA is saying ?this is not OK,? and they are throwing the book at them.?...
    The next article is from a Kansas paper:

    http://www.gbtribune.com/section/1/article/68556/

    Beef recall impacts Golden Belt
    POSTED March 11, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    ...
    Area businesses that received products with contaminated meat included in the recall are:
    ? Barton Community College Bookstore, Great Bend
    ? C-V Convenience Store in Holyrood
    ? Country Store in Macksville
    ? Butterfield?s and Mini Super Mart, both in Ness City
    ? Russell Amoco and Klema Market, both in Russell
    ? Short Stop in St. John
    Beef carcasses and boxes bear the establishment number ?EST. 527? inside the USDA mark of inspection. Each box bears the case code number ending in ?3? or ?4.? The products were produced Jan. 1, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2014, and shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments nationwide.

    ...

    The USDA considers this a ?Class I? recall, meaning, this is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death...
    But nobody has been sick - yet? The next quote is in conflict with reports that the problem was decapitation of cows with 'cancer eye' in order to surreptitiously use the carcass meat:

    The recall does not include ground beef, but does include beef cheeks, lips, liver, tripe, tongue, veal cuts, and bones and trim, according to the USDA.
    Cheeks, lips and tongue are usually attached to heads.

    Here's the FSIS recall sheet:

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/con...3-2014-release

    Leave a comment:


  • mixin
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    So little being said for such a huge recall.

    I've been really curious about the large numbers of gas station convenience stores listed in the recall, wondering exactly what products they could be selling. Now I see House of Jerky listed a number of times as well as a few liquor stores and I think that is my answer. I wonder what brand the jerky is.

    Here's the USDA complete recall list with all of the states & retailers involved (220 pages).

    Leave a comment:


  • Emily
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    http://farmandfoodfile.com/2014/02/24/least-problems/
    The Least of Your Problems

    Posted on February 24, 2014
    Early February was not a good time to be an American carnivore.

    ...

    Indeed, you may view PETA and HSUS as enemies but, rest assured, when you?re recalling millions of pounds of long-gone beef as ?unfit for human food? you got far bigger problems than HSUS and PETA.

    After all, neither could have dreamed up a better anti-meat campaign than the one that began in California and went undetected for a year.
    Alan Guebert is an award-winning agricultural journalist and expert who was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm...

    Leave a comment:


  • Emily
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    http://www.sfgate.com/health/article...ws-5267836.php
    Slaughterhouse accused of selling meat from cows with cancer
    Stacy Finz and Carolyn Lochhead
    Updated 10:45 am, Wednesday, February 26, 2014
    ...
    Rancho was allegedly buying up cows with eye cancer, chopping off their heads so inspectors couldn't detect the disease and illegally selling the meat, the sources said.

    Although it's against federal law, experts say eating the meat isn't likely to make people sick. So far, no one has reported becoming ill from eating the meat...
    Then why won't USDA release meat from sustainable ranchers who had there healthy animals slaughtered at Rancho?

    http://modernfarmer.com/2014/03/answ...o-beef-recall/
    Mystery Meat: Questions Still Loom on Giant Beef Recall
    By Dan Mitchell on March 6, 2014
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...60412011000857
    Environment International

    Volume 37, Issue 5, July 2011, Pages 950?959

    Cancer mortality in workers employed in cattle, pigs, and sheep slaughtering and processing plants

    E.S. Johnson Corresponding author

    Objectives

    We studied mortality in two separate cohorts of workers in abattoirs (N = 4996) and meat processing plants (N = 3642) belonging to a meatcutters' union, because they were exposed to viruses that cause cancer in food animals, and also to chemical carcinogens at work.

    Methods

    Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) were estimated for each cohort as a whole and in subgroups defined by race and sex, using the US general population mortality rates for comparison. Study subjects were followed up from January 1950 to December 2006, during which time over 60% of them died.

    Results

    An excess of deaths from cancers of the base of the tongue, esophagus, lung, skin, bone and bladder, lymphoid leukemia, and benign tumors of the thyroid and other endocrine glands, and possibly Hodgkin's disease, was observed in abattoir and meat processing workers. Significantly lower SMRs were recorded for cancer of the thymus, mediastinum, pleura, etc., breast cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

    Conclusion

    This study confirms the excess occurrence of cancer in workers in abattoirs and meat processing plants, butchers, and meatcutters, previously reported in this cohort and other similar cohorts worldwide. Large nested case?control studies are now needed to examine which specific occupational and non-occupational exposures are responsible for the excess. There is now sufficient evidence for steps to be taken to protect workers from carcinogenic exposures at the workplace. There are also serious implications for the general population which may also be exposed to some of these viruses.

    Leave a comment:


  • mixin
    replied
    Re: Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    I admit I've been very naive about the meat that I purchase. Here in my little town, cattle are killed in a small building and then hauled to the local butcher shop, which is clean and well-maintained. I guess I never gave other operations much thought and just assumed that clean, inspected carcasses were sent to clean butchering facilities.

    This is a screen cap of the slaughter house that sold that beef; see the the video at the link below.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	Beef Recall.jpg
Views:	1
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    Digital Journal is a digital media news network with thousands of Digital Journalists in 200 countries around the world. Join us!


    **************

    Nestle recalled some of its products due to the beef recall:
    Friday, February 14, 2014 ? Nestl? USA?s Prepared Foods Division today announced the voluntary recall of HOT POCKETS? brand Philly Steak and Cheese in three different pack sizes and HOT POCKETS? brand Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese, in the two pack box.
    The voluntary recall is limited to these two products, which were distributed nationwide. No other batches, sizes, including multi-packs, or varieties of HOT POCKETS? brand products are affected by this recall.

    Leave a comment:


  • Emily
    replied
    Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    http://www.petaluma360.com/article/2...-Rancho-recall
    Mike Thompson upset with lack of information on Rancho recall
    By ROBERT DIGITALE
    THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
    Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:36 a.m.
    Last Modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:36 a.m.

    North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson criticized federal regulators Wednesday for failing to answer his questions about the growing Rancho Feeding Corporation meat recall.

    Thompson joined a chorus of food safety experts and North Bay ranchers who have complained the U.S. Department of Agriculture is releasing few details about the reasons underlying the decision to recall all beef processed at Rancho's Petaluma plant last year.

    In particular, those who raise pasture-fed cattle have protested that their high-end beef is under recall even though the animals were sound and free of disease.

    ?What I'm troubled by most right now is the inability to get good information on what is happening,? said Thompson, D-St. Helena...
    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkin...all_reason.php
    Rancho Feeding Recall: Why Sick Dairy Cows Might Be to Blame
    By Hannah Palmer Egan Thu., Feb. 20 2014 at 10:46 AM

    ...

    Included in the recall: Walmart hamburgers and Nestl? Hot Pockets.

    Contacted by the Voice, USDA officials declined to comment beyond saying that the investigation is ongoing. Asked whether the move involved suspicion of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, a.k.a. mad cow disease), E. coli contamination, or any other specific health threat, USDA press officer Richard McIntire says there has been "no indication of any illness" resulting from consumption of the recalled meat...
    E. Coli would have acute symptoms, so is McIntire dancing around a BSE exposure risk? A sustainable beef rancher who ended up as collateral damage in the recall wonders about another risk that would not have immediate symptoms:

    Cautioning that he can only speculate about what happened, Niman says that conversations he has had with USDA personnel and the Bay Area ranch community lead him to believe the recall has something to do with dairy cows. Rancho Feeding, he explains, is one of the few facilities that slaughters retired dairy cows, animals that are typically processed into low-grade meat once their milking days are over. These animals, Niman says, tend to be older and not always in the best of health.

    He points to one ailment, cancer of the eye, as especially common, and a red flag to USDA inspectors.

    "Dairy cow carcasses that revealed signs of eye cancer may have gone into the food chain," Niman theorizes. If that's indeed what happened, he says, the slaughterhouse likely knew about it, but the blame extends to everyone involved. "A farmer sends a cow in with cancer, and he knows it has cancer-eye -- it's a growth on the eye, this is not a microbial situation," he says. "The inspectors, they know it has cancer-eye. So the farmer shouldn't have sent it, and the inspector should have caught it."

    Paul Carney, a 32-year veteran USDA inspector and Western Council president of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, the union that represents meat inspectors, says an on-site veterinarian employed by the USDA makes the final call. If an inspector finds an eye cancer that has metastasized to the lymph nodes, Carney explains, he will immediately tag the carcass. At that point Carney says, the vet must "determine whether that condition has metastasized to the point of condemnation, or if it's localized and it can be passed."
    The Village Voice has a link to this article from 1970 that explains why USDA has the 'cancer eye' rule:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...g=2922,4995372

    There was fear that a lymphoma virus could spread from cattle to humans. USDA needs to clarify the risk on this recall. People have a right to know.

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    replied
    Re: 8.7 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company have been recalled because they came from "diseased and unsound" animals

    Slaughterhouse Closed After Huge Beef Recall
    BY JONEL ALECCIA
    A California slaughterhouse that recalled nearly 9 million pounds of beef parts is voluntarily shutting its doors, federal officials said Tuesday.

    more...

    A California slaughterhouse that recalled nearly 9 million pounds of beef parts is shutting down.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lack of USDA transparency about beef recall leads to worry and speculation

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/08/us/beef-product-recall/
    Recall of nearly 9 million pounds of meat not fully inspected
    By Greg Botelho and Janet DiGiacomo, CNN
    updated 12:28 PM EST, Sun February 9, 2014
    (CNN) -- Some 8.7 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company have been recalled because they came from "diseased and unsound" animals that weren't properly inspected, a federal agency announced Saturday...
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