Central Valley Meat Co. of Hanford is being investigated to see if beef from sick cattle entered the human food supply. In-N-Out Burger bought beef from the company until the U.S. Department of Agriculture closed the plant Monday after receiving a video authorities said showed inhumane treatment. The USDA says it's investigating the matter.
Mark Taylor, chief operating officer of In-N-Out, told the Merc that his company "severed our supplier relationship" when it became aware of the situation. He said suppliers must agree in writing to not distribute beef from sick cattle and to abide by standards for humane treatment of cattle.
The video, shot by Compassion Over Killing, shows animals struggling to walk and even stand, being shot, shocked and kicked to get them to slaughter, as well as other despicable treatment and conditions. "The horror caught on camera is sickening," Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing, said in a statement. The group said they will release the video to the public "soon."
"We were extremely disturbed to be informed by the USDA that ... our plant could not operate based upon a videotape that was provided to the Department by a third-party group that alleged inhumane treatment of animals on our property," Central Valley Meat Co. said in a statement. (That's kind of a backhanded "disturbance.")
If the federal investigation shows sick cows were slaughtered, meat products from the company could be recalled, according to a spokesman for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.
The USDA already had at least two inspectors stationed at the site, twiddling their thumbs, apparently. USDA records show Central Valley Meat Co. also has contracted to sell ground beef to USDA food programs -- you know, the kind of meat that goes to poor people and public schools.
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In even more exciting news, earlier this year, USDA tests on a dairy cow carcass at a Hanford rendering plant transfer facility showed it was infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, according to the Associated Press.
Good job, In-N-Out, but maybe we'll have the Wish Burger from now until infinity, just to be safe.
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