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USDA cites meat plants for animal treatment, food safety issues

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued its first-quarter report for the federal fiscal year and it includes some red marks for big meat plants regarding animal treatment.

The enforcement report covers the first three months of FY2016, Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2015.

FSIS enforcement activity during the first quarter ranged from routine administrative actions for noncompliance records (NRs) to federal court filings. Here are some of those actions, beginning with administrative complaints:

usdameatinspector_406x250FSIS reached an administrative consent decision and order in a case with Mountainair Heritage Meat Processor of Mountainair, NM. The company agreed to “a robust systematic humane handling and slaughter program with employee and management training.” FSIS had filed a complaint, indefinitely suspending its inspection services.

Rio Tex Wholesale Meat Processing agreed to a consent decree with FSIS for stepped up E. coli and Salmonella sampling and testing. FSIS had also filed a consent decree and order to withdraw federal inspection from the company.

Value, OH-based D&H Meats LLC was the subject of complaint to refuse federal inspection services to the company because of two federal misdemeanors by its owner. The company currently operates on a grant of inspection from Ohio.

Norwood, NC-based Halal Meat Slaughter House and its owner, Zafer R. Kafozi, entered into a consent decision and order with FSIS, calling for business code, ethics training and other measures. The agreement limits Kafozi’s employment capacity and ownership interest. He previously had a felony conviction for conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen goods unrelated to food.

Fairmount, IN-based Zabiha Halal Meats and Daniel Ault, its owner, agreed to a consent decree and order, agreeing to add a corporate ethics and compliance officer, record keeping and other measures. FSIS had moved to withdraw inspection services from Ault after his felony conviction for improper disposal of dead animals.

During the first three months of the federal fiscal year 2016, FSIS inspected more than 38.1 million livestock and 2.24 billion poultry carcasses. During that time, there were 113 detentions totaling 590,420 pounds.

FSIS issued one dozen prohibited activity notices to: Cafe Mawal (Houston); Dadu Ice Cream Inc. (Van Nuys, CA); E&J Distribution (Puyallup, WA); Giant Food (Mechanicsburg, PA); Grand Distribution LLC (Menlo Park, CA); Hotpie Inc. (Fort Pierce, FL); Kalinda (San Jose, CA); Kapowsin Meat Inc. (Graham, WA); Ralphs (Newport Beach, CA); Royal Frozen Food (Los Angeles); Safeway Distribution Center (Tracy, CA); and Safeway Inc. (Pleasanton, CA).

FSIS prohibited activity notices typically involve failures involving recall notices, such as not notifying a consignee or customer, or offering a recalled product for sale.

FSIS also took administrative action on its own against 90 businesses during the quarter. These include notices of intended enforcement (NOIEs), suspensions and withholdings.

FSIS provides continuous inspection at about 6,400 meat, poultry and egg production facilities around the country. At the large plants, administrative action was taken against 18 plants, with 13 for inhumane treat or slaughter violations.

Large plants with an inhumane treatment action include: Cargill Meats (Fresno, CA); Cargill Meats (Fort Morgan, CO); Clemens Food Group (Hatfield, PA); Hillshire Brands (Newborn, TN) JBS (Grand Island, NE); JBS Swift (Louisville, KY); Quality Pork Processors (Austin, MN); Smithfield Farmland (Crete, NE); Swift Pork Co. (Worthington, MN); Tyson Fresh Meats, (Logansport, IN); and Tyson Fresh Meats (Dakota City, NE). Administrative actions for inhuman treatment were taken against Tyson at Logansport three times.

There were five large plant violations of sanitation performance stands and four administrative actions for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) violations. Three suspensions that occurred among the large plants were reinstated on the same day.

Administrative actions were taken against 35 small plants for HACCP problems while 25 were written up for sanitation issues and 23 for instances of inhumane treatment.
Action was taken against two plants, Bel Tex Corp. in Fort Worth and Central Valley Meat in Hanford, CA, for interference or assault against USDA meat inspectors.

HACCP violations dominate the administrative actions taken against the very small plants. Several small plants were also caught operating “without the benefit of inspection.”

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