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USDA Makes Nation’s Largest Beef Recall

By GREG RISLINGLOS, Associated Press

ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse, the subject of an animal-abuse investigation, that provided meat to school lunch programs.

Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat was likely small.

Now this is a rather disturbing headline, especially after the beefy meals that I have had in the past two days. This quote is was especially disturbing:

Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten.

As an avid consumer of beef, I now mentally recalling all of the beef-based meals that I have had in the last few days and it’s not looking pretty. Granted, one comforting thing to keep in mind is that the “officials” say that the beef is unlikely to be contaminated with mad cow disease and that the recall was not made because of illnesses linked to the beef in question, but because of animal cruelty issues.


Interestingly enough, newspapers began reporting on Friday that schools in their local area were pulling the beef from their cafeteria menus because the USDA began to probe the slaughterhouse in Chino, California as a result of a video released by the Human Society. (As a side note, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the schools that I read about were in the south….I wonder why they didn’t purchase meat from a local company….that’s an awful far distance to be transporting raw meat even if it is frozen. But I guess not everyone can follow in the footsteps of Google’s corporate cafeteria, Cafe 150, where all foods serve were grown, produced and raise within 180 mile radius of the Google campus.

Still, even though there is no report of contamination and I sure hope that no one falls ill. Either way, I think that I’ll be eating pork, chicken and fish until this whole thing clears up.

From a public relation’s stand point, I couldn’t help but look up what kinds of press releases where being issues on the recall:

  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association issued a statement via PR Newswire almost immediately after the USDA announcement. Looks like the NCBA were very diligent in monitoring the story and had anticipated the recall in order to get this statement out so quickly.
  • USDA release the entire transcript of the spoken announcement via PR NewsChannel and their website. I personally have never used PR NewsChannel nor have I ever issued a press conference transcript over the wire, so I wonder if this is a special government wire and if the transcript is a standard government public relations/public affairs. Anybody know?