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Feds Shut Down Calif. Meat Co. Tied to National School Lunch Program

Salisbury steak and eggs
Salisbury steak and eggs
Flickr/Yuya Tamai

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service on Monday shut down a problematic California slaughterhouse that provides beef for the National School Lunch Program.

Hanford's Central Valley Meat Co. was shuttered for failing to meet cleanliness standards.

This is the same delightful spot that the USDA closed down in 2012 after an undercover video by an animal rights group surfaced showing grotesque treatment of cows taking place there. Central Valley employees were caught on camera torturing cattle with prods and subjecting them to other inhumane treatment and violations of humane slaughter laws. The revelation of that abuse led to In-N-Out severing its ties with the company. McDonald's followed suit, and the National School Lunch program suspended purchases.

The facility was allowed to reopen after submitting a "plan of action" that included better training its workers not to be brutal to cows. (Central Valley provided about 16% of beef purchased by the USDA - 21 million pounds - during the 2010-2011 school year.)

No recall has been initiated in the latest closure. However, last September Central Valley recalled 147,000 pounds of beef bound for the school lunch program because it was contaminated with bits of plastic.

By Wednesday, Central Valley had supposedly cleaned up its act sufficiently that the FSIS allowed it to reopen and resume operations. (Neither the company nor the USDA disclosed what the "unsanitary conditions" were, according to the Merced Sun-Star.)

We guess In-N-Out and McDonald's have higher standards than the National School Lunch Program. But then again, who really cares what poor kids eat.

By all means, let's give them another chance. Carry on, Central Valley Meat Co.


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