Monday, February 18, 2008

The Jungle re-lived

Just when you thought it safe to eat .

The US Department of Agriculture has ordered the recall of 143 million lb (64.9 million kg) of beef - the largest meat recall in the country's history. An estimated 37 million lbs (16.8 million kg) of the beef recalled on Sunday went to school lunch programmes and other federal nutrition programmes . Some was also supplied to major fast-food chains.

It comes from a company in California, which allowed meat from cattle unable to stand at the time of slaughter to enter the food chain. The recall was ordered after USDA officials said the plant did not consistently order "complete and proper" inspections of cattle which had lost the ability to walk prior to slaughter.
Such "downer" cattle are at greater risk of contamination by E. coli, salmonella or contracting mad cow disease, as they have weaker immune systems and greater contact with faeces than walking cattle. They should either be removed from the food supply, or receive a more thorough inspection following slaughter, officials say.

The meat-packing plant is also being investigated for animal cruelty after an undercover video came to light showing crippled and sick animals being mistreated.
Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer said he had been "dismayed by the inhumane handling of cattle" that resulted in the violation of food safety regulations at Westland/Hallmark.

Just like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

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