Beef Recall Largest in U.S. History

2-Year Recall of 143 Million Pounds of Beef -- Most Already Eaten

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on February 18, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

Feb. 18, 2008 -- It's the largest beef recall in U.S. history: 143 millionpounds of beef "voluntarily" recalled by Hallmark/Westland Meat PackingCompany of Chino, Calif.

The beef, produced from February 2006 until the U.S. Department ofAgriculture suspended operations at the meat plant on Feb. 2, 2008, may becontaminated because of "inhumane" practices at the plant, includingthe processing of cattle too ill to walk.

Because no actual contamination has yet been found in any of the foodproducts, the USDA is issuing a "Class II" recall, which it defines as"a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adversehealth consequences from the use of the product."

According to the Humane Society of the United States, which produced a vividdocumentary depicting illicit practices at Hallmark/Westland, the company hasdelivered beef to more than 100,000 schools and child care facilities in 36states through federally assisted school lunch programs.

"I am dismayed at the inhumane handling of cattle that has resulted inthe violation of food safety regulations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat PackingCompany," USDA secretary Ed Schafer said in a news release.

Much of the recalled beef in the two-year recall may already have beeneaten. However, many of the products were frozen.

Specific package labels for the various recalled items -- which include bothraw and processed meat and beef parts -- can be viewed at the USDA website.

Show Sources

News releases, United States Department of Agriculture, Feb. 17.
USDA web site.
United States Humane Society web site.

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