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Beef recall spurs firing of 2 USDA employees

Mar 03, 2008
By dvm360.com staff

Washington - 3/03/08 - A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector and supervisor were suspended after a facility's overlooking of multiple federal rules resulted in the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

The employees, suspended with pay, had monitored the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company plant responsible for the recall of 143 million pounds of beef last month after the Humane Society of the United States released a video showing animal mistreatment at the facility. Plant workers were secretly recorded using electric prods and forklifts to help move fallen cows to slaughter.

USDA "had obtained information warranting placing" the employees on administrative leave, says Stan Painter, chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals.

The Feb. 17 recall spurred USDA increasing random facility checks and the consideration of installing video cameras to heighten surveillance.

For more information about the recall, see the March issue of DVM Newsmagazine.