Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Left Masthead
July 28, 2016
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

American Amnesia
Neither Snow Nor Rain

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Ear to the Ground
Print this item

Huge Recall of Beef Is Linked to Schools

Posted on Feb 17, 2008

The Department of Agriculture has ordered the largest ever beef recall in the U.S., deeming 143 million pounds of beef unfit for human consumption because of inspection violations. The plant responsible for the suspect meat happens to call the U.S. government, including the National School Lunch Program, one of its best customers.

The USDA said there was only “a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product” but that it was acting to uphold regulations.

Los Angeles Times:

It was not immediately clear where the meat products are, but the USDA said that some Westland meat products were purchased for federal food and nutrition programs. The agency placed a Jan. 30 hold on all Westland products in federal outlets, including the National School Lunch Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Food Assistance Program on Indian Reservations, USDA officials said Sunday.

The USDA recall list issued today includes beef products with the Westland, King Meat Co., Regal and Hallmark Meat Packing Labels.

“Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection FSIS has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall,” Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer said in a statement.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Katie, February 18, 2008 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I bought 1/4 of a locally grown grass fed beef this year. I can’t overstate how glad I am to have that option. The government regulations make it impossible for ranchers to produce and sell their products in a mainstream manner- all my meat was marked “NOT FOR SALE” on the wrapper to satisfy some regulation. I was able to go to the place where the meat was processed- it was immaculate and they only process one or two animals at a time, so there’s not much opportunity for cross contamination. Because corporate cattle are forced to live in unnaturally crowded conditions and given grains which they aren’t naturally able to digest, they need lots of antibiotics. I won’t even touch on the “down cattle” who potentially have far worse issues than those caused by feed lots and slaughter houses. Grass fed beef aren’t forced to live under crowded conditions and only eat what cows naturally eat, so they tend to stay much more healthy and don’t require antibiotics. In the end, I feel totally confident about my food when I buy local. Corporate foods are for people far braver than I am.

Report this

By Johnny California, February 18, 2008 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That’s all well and good that you are a vegan, unfortunately, everything we eat slowly kills us. While there is hard evidence that people who eat less than what is considered “normal” certainly live longer, there is no evidence that those who eat only products that are not from animal protein enjoy the same benefits.  Vegans suffer a significantly lower occurrence of heart disease, but still have a mortality rate comparable to meat eaters. Vegans still suffer from lack of many nutrients that meat eaters don’t. In other words…We will all die no matter what we eat.  If we try to stay healthy, and stay away from smoking and other toxic drugs…we will live approximately the same amount of time.  If you don’t eat meat or dairy, supplement your b-12 sources, if you do eat meat and dairy, watch your fat intake and eat smaller portions of animal products.  Mostly, be happy…The outcome of life is invariably death, the healthy being can delay death to a short degree overall, but he or she will eventually face it.  If you are happy being a vegan, then great…if your unhappy being a vegan, I see more problems with that than dying 3 years earlier because you loved your juicy steaks..

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 18, 2008 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment


Report this

By Yearight, February 18, 2008 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

or so the US meat industry would have you believe. There is more to this story than “meats” the eye. Follow the money.

Report this

By BC, February 18, 2008 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am so angry at this.  I have been getting angrier and angrier since I lost my precious companion to the pet food recall.

I was in England during the BSE fiasco.  The British stood up to their govt.  The truth was on all the tellies for everyone to see.

The prions that cause mad cow disease CANNOT BE KILLED by any means. Therefore if a blade at the meat packing plant comes in contact with the brain or spine (and it does) then the contamination is spread to all the meat it touches.

That is why packing plants in England were dismantled and BURNED!!!!

I believe that everyone at the Meat Packing Plant should be brought up on charges of Murder.  That everyone in the FDA and Ag Depts who are responsible for this should be brought up on murder charges.  I believe that our Legislators and GWB should be charged.

Because by the time my grandkids get sick with BSE the statue of limitations will have expired.

I am so angry, I an elderly woman, am willing to start walking from Florida to D.C. to demand the government bureaucrats and Legislators get charged.  To DEMAND that these people are immediately fired/recalled.

Is anyone with me….????  Your Children’s Children are at stake.

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 18, 2008 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

I first read about it in “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan (the section entitled “Corn Walking”)

But i googled “citric acid corn” and found it on the first two hits…didn’t go any further.

“Brown lettuce leaves. Many fruits and vegetables start to turn an unattractive brown once they’re cut and exposed to air. Citric acid, recognized as a safe food ingredient, can prevent browning…and much of the U.S. supply of citric acid is made from corn sweeteners.”

Not all citric acid is corn derived, but as it is cheaper than using actual citrus, well…

This link is called “primary products from corn”:

Report this

By Maani, February 18, 2008 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment


“Actually, Maani, citric acid found in food is not from citrus…it is chemically engineered and its base is corn.  Along with pretty much everything else you can’t pronounce on a list of ingredients.”

I would like some support for this.  It is not what I found in my research, or what a number of people (including scientists and nutritionists) have told me.


Report this

By jackpine savage, February 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Actually, Maani, citric acid found in food is not from citrus…it is chemically engineered and its base is corn.  Along with pretty much everything else you can’t pronounce on a list of ingredients.

Report this

By david, February 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Any department with ‘US’ in front of it is nothing more than an extension of the corporations and the industries it is supposed to regulate.  The Republicans are bent on killing off the pesky middle class so it will be only them, the ultra rich, and them immagrants who work for them.  Everyone else is expendable.  Soon they’ll be putting Blackwater snipers on the overpasses to pick off anyone not driving a high end luxury car.

Report this

By curious, February 18, 2008 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is BT, a short cut for Bacillus thurengensis?

Report this

By Jeff Deasy, February 18, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The need for a healthier and more sustainable food system could not be clearer in light of this record recall.  The combination of cruelty to animals and dangerous food is not isolated; it is endemic in a system that prizes profit above all else.  The filth of factory farms has no place in a healthy society and should be replaced by family-scale farms and organic farming standards.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, February 18, 2008 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Increasing BT use is associated with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is also increasing…People also like to use this stuff on their lawns, and cities use it in their parks, where their children play soccer. The Chemical companies are in charge.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, February 18, 2008 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Organic meat is not safe either, cause the Bush administration and USDA, lowered the standards. The Organic meat that people eat now, would never qualify as organic under the old standards.

Report this

By Maani, February 18, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment


“...any product that contains “citric acid” (a corn product) is a pesticide.”

Uh…citric acid is not found in corn; it is found in…citrus (lemons, limes, grapefruits et al).

As well, for those who don’t know about BT, it is a pesticide that has been genetically engineered into the DNA of corn and potatoes; i.e., it is INSEPARABLE from the final product.  In fact, while BT corn comprises about 30% of all U.S. corn products (including sub-products like high fructose corn syrup, etc.), the even more infamous BT potato now comprises over 75% of all U.S. potato products - including french fries, potato chips, and other commonly consumed items.

Yup, we’re being destroyed from the inside (via Frankenfoods) and the outside (via pollution and claimte change).  Might as well just eat that rare steak and baked potato in the 65 degree weather in February in NYC.


Report this

By Expat, February 18, 2008 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

^ we’ve gone from local to global and now we’re going back to local; just as it should be.  We’re so damn thick, we have to be beaten to a pulp before we see the light.  Jeez, will we ever “get it”?

Report this

By Aegrus, February 18, 2008 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

Our way of providing food to our own people is disgusting. Grow your own damn food. These agricorporate farms only destroy the quality of the food we eat.

Report this

By niloroth, February 18, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

More green house gasses are released from rice paddies than from all the cows that supply us with beef, and the largest outbreak of ecoli was via radishes.

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 18, 2008 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

Ah, the pleasures of industrial agriculture.

The meat is scary, but don’t think that fruits, vegetables, and grains are much better.  In 2002, 32% of all US corn was Monsanto’s Bt GMO…that number is certainly higher now.  Bt is “organic” in that it does occur naturally; it is also a registered pesticide.  Your corn syrup is a pesticide, your tortillas are a pesticide, any product that contains “citric acid” (a corn product) is a pesticide.

Expat’s right: eat seasonally.  Grow your own when you can.  Join a CSA.  Visit to find farmers near you…they include sources of produce, meat, poultry, and dairy.

Put your money where your mouth is.  Give it to the farmers.  The $4 loaf of bread at the grocery store only gives the farmer who grew the grains about $0.10.  The rest goes into the pockets of ADM, Monsanto, Cargill, et al.

And take note, the US government is the partner patent holder on a good many agricultural GMO’s…like the terminator gene.

Report this

By Expat, February 18, 2008 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

Thanks to Clinton, Reagan, and GWB, we have lost any semblance of oversight and quality assurance regarding all aspects of consumerism in America.  Products (toys and food) from China as well as from within our own country can no longer be trusted to be as advertised.  America’s self-sufficiency infrastructure has been effectively gutted for a huge profit.  Increasingly here in America; because we no longer eat seasonally, we are at the mercy of unregulated food (yeah, yeah, they claim inspection) coming from around the world.  Here in S.E. Asia, because we don’t live in a large city (small rural village) we have no choice; we eat what’s seasonally available.  I would suggest for anyone who cares, to go back to a natural diet based on what’s seasonally available: This of course requires that you can remember just what those foods are.

Report this

By srelf, February 18, 2008 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

Andrew Weil M.D. recommends eating only organic beef. See details at:
Our illustrious USDA and FDA are especially inept under GW and so it is the only way to be safe.
The Chino, CA incident is proof that the bean counters are at it again. A few dozen dead children from E. coli, or a few hundred brain-damaged BSE cases are an “acceptable risk” because the bottom line is profits in the current system.
Get these incompetents out of our government!
I go with my Uncle Joe’s advice, as a long-time butcher he always said, “Do not eat ground beef!”

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, February 18, 2008 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

I don’t want to die of mad cow disease…Not a good way to go.

The U.S. meat supply used to be ok, but the usual story of greedy corporations, sacrifised safety for profit, got the USDA to collude.

Then they lowered the standard for Organic meat, so you can’t trust them.

Used to like eating a good steak once and while, now I’m questioning Chicken.

Then there’s the problem with genetic alteration of the cattle themselves, god only knows what proteins your getting when you eat meat.

Some people believe mad cow disease is not caused by prions, but instead the way proteins fold and their topology. This easily could be realted to genetic engineering.

Since they don’t test those who die of Alzheimers for Mad cow disease there’s no way to know what’s happening.

Don’t feel secure because your a vegetarian, meat by- products are in everything from sugar to to salt.

Report this

By SuperVegan, February 18, 2008 at 12:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I accept rather than assume that if we were designed to eat meat it wouldn’t slowly kill us, or cause so much avoidable sickness and disease.

Your body can also digest cardboard but that doesn’t mean it was intended to nor that it is good for you.

Our anatomy is much more similiar to that of a herbivore as well.

If better health and true compassion are important, then I highly recommend vegetarianism or even better veganism. It’s easier than ever. There is a choice despite what we’ve been conditioned to think since an early age.

one love.

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, February 17, 2008 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

I make the assumption that since my masticating anatomy is designed to prepare BOTH animal and vegetable “items” for ingestion/digestion, it is only sensible to use these tools for their intended purposes.

Effectively following through on this “recall” will never happen - 143 MILLION pounds of edible beef will find willing buyers in an instant.

The optics, however, are sensational!

Report this

By BlueEagle, February 17, 2008 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Why people still eat cow is beyond me. If you are at all concerned about your own health, the health of the environment or the cruelty towards animals, there is no way you can eat cow. To think that they are feeding this stuff to our children.

There are organically grass fed, free range, non-hormone injected animals out there, but they are the exception to the industry.

This video is pretty disturbing, but it does drive the point home:

Great video about diet, the environment and animal cruelty.

Report this
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Like Truthdig on Facebook