What the heck is going on here? Tonight I sat down for a nice Sunday dinner with my family. I cooked a brisket all day until it was tender and mouth watering. Not unlike most Americans, I sat down in front of the television with a plate of sliced brisket, ready to dig in. Then on the television came the story. Maybe you saw it wherever you live. Some beef company in Chino California has the biggest beef recall in the history of the country. Apparently they got greedy and were using cattle that were sick and not meeting standards. About a week ago there was a story on this very same plant that showed the workers abusing the cattle, using forklifts to push them around, using water spray, kicking and hitting them and really, any means necessary to get them into the killing stall. It was sickening. I lost my appetite. Now I’m a meat eater, not a vegetarian. Nothing against the veggies out there, but I do have a soft spot for animals in my heart. — Look Up To The Sky

Picture of cruelty. This is a video taken by the Humane Society of the horrible practices of the beef manufacturer who just had 143 million pounds of their meat recalled. — The Modaresi-Beal Family

143 million pounds of beef recalled — but not to worry. It’s rather unusual to get an email about an update from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on midday Sunday of a holiday weekend. It’s also rather unusual to go to the USDA’s open cases website and find only a link to a PDF of the recall notice, rather than information posted online. How surprising then to learn from this low-profile PDF that the USDA’s largest-ever recall is now under way — “approximately 143,383,823 pounds” (give or take a few ounces?) of raw and frozen beef products from the disgraced Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. in Chino, California. That’s almost half the amount of beef and poultry recalled since 1994 in the United States, although I am not sure where it will go on Marc’s chart. — The Ethicurean

The mad cow risk #1. In spite of the rules, the videotaped debacle occurred under the noses of eight onsite USDA inspectors., although the USDA officially bans both the torture of domestic animals and the use of “downer cows” (cows unable to stand) for meat because the weakened animals are up to 50 times more susceptible to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease). Given the long incubation period of Mad Cow, those who ate beef from the downer cows may still be at risk. Ironically, the Hallmark-Westland Meat Company was named “Supplier of the Year” in 2004. The company distributed meat to more than 100,000 child-care facilities and schools in the US, but the investigation has provoked schools in 50 states to pull beef from their menus. — Jon Barron, Baseline of Health Foundation

The mad cow risk #2. Will the meat from the Westland Meat Packing Company in Chino make you sick? Depends on what the meaning of “sick” is. If, by “sick”, you mean, will it give you mad cow disease, or E. coli, or salmonella? There’s only a “remote possibility,” according to Dick Raymond, undersecretary of agriculture for food safety. If, however, by “sick,” you mean nauseated by the gut-wrenching undercover video depicting Westland employees abusing “downer” cows — i.e. those too ill or injured to stand ( and perhaps not fit to eat) — well, then, the answer is definitely yes. — Kerry Trueman, The Huffington Post

With news like this, I’m proud I’ve not eaten beef in 18 yrs. Reasons not to eat beef… Bill’s TN Paradise

Peter Fray

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