The U.S. Department of Agriculture late last week lifted its suspension of Central Valley Meat as a beef supplier for the federal nutrition programs, according to Meatingplace. The moves comes a few weeks after the company was shut down for several days following an undercover video that alleged egregious abuse of cows.
The department concluded that the company has taken the right steps to remedy the problems documented on film and an extensive investigation revealed that, despite mistreating some downer cows, the company was not slaughtering downed animals for human consumption.
USDA posted the following statement:
“USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) investigation has concluded that there is no evidence to support the allegation that a downer cow was slaughtered and entered the food supply, and that a food safety violation occurred as a result. In addition, FSIS has concluded its evaluation of the extensive corrective action plan submitted by Central Valley Meat Company to correct recent humane handling violations and has permitted Central Valley Meat to resume processing. As a result, the company will resume packing and shipping existing meat orders purchased by USDA for the National School Lunch Program.”
USDA recently accepted the company’s plan to improve its animal handling. The plan included enhanced training, video monitoring, and more third-party audits.
“We believe these measures will not only meet, but exceed the current USDA and customer guidelines and set a new industry standard for animal handling,” company officials said a statement given to Meatingplace.
Records posted on USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service website show that between October 2010 and September 2011, the USDA purchased 21.2 million pounds of various beef products, including ground beef and boneless beef, from Central Valley Meat. Five separate purchases, ranging from 40,000 pounds to 6.9 million pounds, were made for a total of $49.7 million.
According to the overview of purchases, the USDA purchased around 135 million pounds of beef products during the fiscal year. Purchases from Central Valley Meat accounted for roughly 16 percent of beef purchases by volume during that time.