Meat Industry Wants To "Unrecall" Some Of That Potentially Tainted Beef

The Wall Street Journal says that that beef industry representatives have been talking with federal food-safety regulators about possibly “narrowing the scope” of the recent record-breaking beef recall that stemmed from an undercover video showing slaughter house workers hitting sick cows with forklifts and forcing them into the slaughter box. Cows that can not stand are not allowed into the food supply because they pose an increased risk of “mad cow” disease.

From the WSJ:

In two conference calls this week, industry and USDA officials discussed the possibility of excluding from the recall Hallmark/Westland beef that was mixed with other suppliers’ meat and sent to retail and wholesale customers, according to a memo written by an employee of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC. The Washington law firm represents several food companies. The department appears to have since decided against narrowing the scope.

Most of the beef in question has already been eaten, though millions and millions of pounds are thought to be still in storage in various locations around the country.

Beef Industry Presses For Reduced Recall [WSJ]


Edit Your Comment

  1. shadow735 says:

    puts new meaning to the term “Cheese Brains” I feel all warm and fuzzy about red meat now.

  2. Bay State Darren says:

    Meat Industry Wants to “Unrecall” Some Of That Potentially Tainted Beef

    [/grammar Nazi]

  3. forrester says:

    This reminds me of when there was 1 cow in Canada that tested positive for mad cow disease and the American beef industry wanted (and did) ban Canadian beef for years. Funny what happens when the shoe is on the other foot.

  4. shadow735 says:

    thats why now I eat Baby, its the other other white me, Hey you look kinda like a baby, get in ma belly!!

  5. johnva says:

    If they can’t prove they didn’t slaughter downer cows (and I can’t see how they could, considering they were caught systematically violating the law), then the recall should stand and cover all their meat. Public safety MUST take precedence over any company’s interests.

  6. lightaugust says:

    In other news, the Toothpaste Industry would like it all put back in the tube.

  7. ninabi says:

    Quite the policy the USDA has, “Don’t seek, won’t find.”

    Seriously, the meat inspection program is a sham. Cows herded by an inspector that is so overwhelmed by numbers he has a second or two to look at clusters of cattle and guess that maybe they might well, kind of be okay to eat?
    And when the inspector isn’t there, well, anything goes?

    The gold standard is to test the heads. If the USDA says they can’t because of understaffing, I call bullshit.
    They sued to prevent Creekstone from testing each and every single head.
    The USDA protects the cattle industry, not our health.

  8. chelotoyou says:

    Actually, the no-downer-cow law was reversed in 2005…unless the FDA suddenly got humane.

  9. shadow735 says:

    No wonder people are so stupid its because we have holes in our brains from all the burgers we eat!!

  10. BugMeNot2 says:

    @ninabi: This is why I don’t eat beef anymore.. I’m too paranoid with the whole “mad cow” thing, and I don’t trust the USDA to make sure beef is safe at all. Apparently other countries don’t trust us, either, since Japan for one have issues with our beef. I think Bush did force-feed the Japanese prime minister some on his visit to the White House, though. :P

    Heck, I should probably just go vegetarian all together.. :(

  11. matto says:

    After reading ‘Fast Food Nation’ several years ago, I also concluded that it was a good time to stop eating (and therefore buying) beef.

  12. CumaeanSibyl says:

    If people have already bought most of the meat, what the hell is the point of this? Just suck it up and deal, meat industry, you already got your money.

    Also, in before someone gets offended at the phrase “grammar Nazi.” (I find it offensive on historical grounds, since if I were looking for a model of efficiency and competence, the Nazis are not where I’d start… but that’s just a peeve of mine.)

  13. boy says:

    meh…the risk is so low that you’d actually get meat from one of the “downer” cows. Even then, there’s a miniscule chance it actually had mad cow…and even if the cow had it, it’s a low risk of getting sick. If someone offered me a nice filet mignon from recalled beef I’d take it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I get the point, but it seems a little alarmist.

    And oh yeah, my grandfather DIED of a strain of mad cow disease…so I’ve done my research.

  14. Bay State Darren says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: Yes but the Nazis were “good” at being overly dramatic and annoying, so it technically it still applies to what I said there and -realizing now as I type it- this rebutal here. Beyond that my resemblance to the National Socialists goes no further, I hope.

  15. givemethetimeofday says:

    Makes me glad that that I’m vegetarian.

  16. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    @chelotoyou: Was that part of the Bankruptcy Bill?

  17. WV.Hillbilly says:

    My wife is a teacher. One of the cooks at her school told her today that she was notified the first week of February to put that meat “on hold”.
    I’m not sure what that means, but this was two weeks before this recall was announced.
    Yesterday, the state destroyed 250 out of 1300 lbs of this meat that they bought for schools.
    That only leaves 1050 lbs still in the schools or already eaten.

  18. less_is_best says:

    I just watched my dog eat a terd. Beef doesn’t seem so bad all of a sudden………..

  19. Christovir says:

    For those wondering what the chances are of consuming a sick animal, it is far lower for “slab” meats like steak, and far higher for ground meats. A single hamburger can contain meat from over a thousand cows.

  20. johnva says:

    @boy: I think the point is that they don’t test for mad cow (thanks USDA), so this screening is the only thing that can work to prevent the transmission of the disease to humans.

    @Christovir: Also certain body parts (like brains and bits of spinal cord) are much more likely to transmit mad cow.

  21. bgoldberg says:

    This was just a USDA PR move to begin with (at considerable cost to taxpayers, I might add). This is the same meat that’s eaten across the country, but because the video was so widely distributed they felt they had to make it look as though they were doing something about it. Here’s a great article about it that is out of the UK. It’s a shame American journalists aren’t thinking about this whole thing a bit more critically: []

  22. MrMold says:

    I recently spoke with an industry person and they, by choice, only eat locally raised beef. No exceptions. Why would this person do this and what do they know that they can’t say?

  23. pkrieger says:

    The two year recall was intended as an additional punishment to the company (unverified, but mentioned in regulatory circles.) If your beef is recalled because it was mixed with the Hallmark – you should sue them for recompense, not try to get it “unrecalled.”