No downer animals in food supply: USDA
August 22, 2012
by Meat&Poultry Staff
WASHINGTON – Undercover video footage taken at Central Valley Meat in Hanford, Calif., does not show a downer cow entering the food supply, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
FSIS suspended the company for animal handling violations after receiving an undercover video depicting dairy cows being abused before slaughter. USDA received the video on Aug. 17 from Compassion Over Killing, a non-profit animal-welfare organization. FSIS found violations and suspended the mark of inspection. Investigators will continue to examine the violations which have been documented in the video provided, the agency said. However, the video does not show a downer animal entering the food supply, FSIS said. Nevertheless, FSIS is conducting a thorough investigation that will include food safety measures at the plant.
“Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the food Americans feed their families,” said Al Almanza, FSIS Administrator. “We have reviewed the video and determined that, while some of the footage provided shows unacceptable treatment of cattle, it does not show anything that would compromise food safety. Therefore, we have not substantiated a food safety violation at this time. We are aggressively continuing to investigate the allegations.”
Federal regulations mandate that if an animal is non-ambulatory or disabled at any time before slaughter, it must be immediately condemned, humanely euthanized, and properly discarded so that the carcass does not enter the food supply.