Tuesday, February 19, 2008

World finds out about USA beef scandal

You know the world is watching when the news about the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company scandal hits the headlines of a Beverage Industry magazine targeted to industry insiders.
Industry concerns follow massive US beef recall
by Linda Rano:

19-Feb-2008 - The largest meat recall in US history has reignited fears that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not taking adequate measures to ensure the safety of the nation's meat supply. (link)
This particular online news service also publishes a monthly full-color glossy magazine (yes, real hold-it-in-your-hands hard copy) of breaking stories in the beverage industry, as well as print and online ezine publications for other industry niches including Nutrition, Health, Food Safety and more. Their publications span the globe with their largest subscriber bases in the EU.

After the BSE scandal that rocked the UK beef industry, you can safely bet they're closely monitoring the entire Hallmark/Westland Meat story as it unfolds here in the USA.

voluntary recall of "approximately 143,383,823 pounds of raw and frozen beef products"

To be fair, the way I understand the situation, the meat wasn't fully recalled (ie sent back to the supplier) but instead, it was placed on "hold" by institutions/schools/etc. until the USDA completes their investigation to determine whether or not the meat is (or isn't) safe for human consumption.

So maybe "recall" is a bit too strong a word (for now?) in the article referenced above...

Even so, it's the first time I saw an actual number published with respect to how much beef is involved. Imagine. 143,383,823 pounds!!!

Which brings me to Indiana Senate Bill 123 regarding labelling of meat and dairy products. Apparently it might get a dusting off for reading soon. Here's a quick synopsis:
Citations Affected: IC 15-2.1; noncode.

Synopsis: Meat and milk products. Authorizes the state board of animal health to provide voluntary grading and certification relating to meat and meat products. Provides that a person who knowingly or intentionally forges a grade or certification commits a Class D felony. Requires the board of animal health to review, study, and make recommendations to the legislative council about claims made about milk, milk products, meat, and poultry marketed to the general public.

Effective: Upon passage; July 1, 2008.
What do you think? Should we send a strong message to the Industry? This is your chance to get involved by contacting your reps regarding the Bill -- your choice.

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