US Scrutinizes Calif. Meat Packer

Video raises questions about safety of school food supply
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2008 2:54 PM CST
A worker throws a piece of meat among the cattle carcases scraps dropped into a parked truck at the Hallmark Meat Packing slaughterhouse in Chino, Calif. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. Video footage showed...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The US Department of Agriculture is looking into a California meat distributor following the release of a video showing animal abuse at a Chino slaughterhouse, the Los Angeles Times reports. Westland Meat was immediately suspended from its contract to provide beef to federal school lunch programs because of its practice of slaughtering weak or sick cows, banned from the food supply.

A Westland statement said the two employees shown in the video have been fired and their supervisor suspended. The USDA faulted the Humane Society for not disclosing its accusations last fall, when the video was made. The society shot back that it had given its result to local law enforcement, which had asked them to wait before breaking the story. (Read more federal school lunch program stories.)