The Big Beef Recall

My father told me about this, as I’ve been kind of out of it lately, but right now the United States is in the midst of the largest beef recall in this nation’s history.  143 million pounds of beef is being recalled from California company Westland/Hallmark, which has a plant in nearby Polk county.

Interestingly, there are some shoulder-shrugs, as much of the meat has already been eaten, per this BBC News article.  But still, “downer” cattle–cows that are visibly sick or ill and therefore unable to walk themselves to down the line to slaughter–are at a higher risk of BSE, aka mad cow disease.  Should one diseased animal get into the meat grinder, the meat from such an animal could infect an untold amount of processed and packaged foods consumed in homes, restaurants and school lunches.

If you are curious as to what exactly the video shows, you can watch it here (I’m having difficulty with the code… or with WordPress), although you have to know the video depicts very graphic scenes, including animals being shoved with forklifts, shocked with electrical prods and blasted with high-pressure water.  It is wrong on two counts: one for being inhumane, and another for being in your food.  I agree with Wayne Pacelle, president of the US Humane Society, who stated, “A recall of this staggering scale proves that it’s past time for Congress and the USDA to strengthen our laws for the sake of people and animals.”

Interestingly, the good folks at GOOD Magazine released their new March/April issue with a surprisingly apt feature on the American beef industry.  You can see a related video on their website: Happy Meal.


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