Wednesday, December 10, 2008

USDA faults its own inspections of meatpackers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general said this week that USDA inspectors are not doing a thorough job inspecting meat-processing plants. The investigation found no evidence of animal abuse, but "Inspectors don't watch all areas of plants continually and could miss instances of abuse," writes Phillip Brasher of The Des Moines Register. The investigation was sparked after video footage surfaced early this year of cattle being abused at a Hallmark-Westland slaughterhouse in Chino, Calif. That video prompted the largest meat recall in history.

USDA veterinarians said they are forced to take short cuts in some of their inspections in order to complete assigned tasks. "The report recommended USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service take steps to improve its oversight, including analyzing plants to determine where more frequent or in-depth reviews are needed," writes Brasher. (Read more)

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