Central Valley Meat reopens

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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HANFORD, Calif. – Central Valley Meat Company announced it has been given federal approval to reopen Aug. 27.

The company said the US Department of Agriculture accepted an action plan submitted by the company last week. As part of the plan, Central Valley Meat said it would implement several measures to raise animal handling standards at the company.

"We have worked closely with both inspectors and industry experts while developing our USDA-approved action plan," the company said in a statement. "As a result, Central Valley Meat will provide better training for our workers, better monitoring of our facilities, and more frequent third-party audits of our operations.

" We believe these measures will establish a new industry standard for the handling of animals," the company stated.

FSIS suspended the company for animal handling violations after receiving an undercover video depicting dairy cows being abused before slaughter. FSIS found violations and suspended the mark of inspection. The agency also removed USDA inspectors from the premises.

Central Valley Meat lost several customers since the investigation began, including USDA. McDonald's Corp. and Irvine, Calif.-based In-N-Out fast food chain also suspended supplier agreements with Central Valley Meat.

Three US Congressmen wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to allow the facility in Hanford, Calif. to reopen, stating that its continued closure was adversely impacting the economic stability of the Central Valley community. The company alluded to the economic challenges in the statement.

"Central Valley Meat is a family-run business with deep roots in this community, and we're especially thankful that our 450 hard-working men and women can finally return to their jobs," the company said. "The Central Valley is proud of the role it plays in putting food on America's tables, but our area is under great economic pressure. We're experiencing double-digit unemployment, and the one-week federal closure of our facilities put an even greater strain on our community."

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