National beef recall affects Vegas

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By Don Pace

The nationwide meat recall has hit home. The Las Vegas City Schools reported that it has had to pull meat because of the recall.

Recently, Westland / Hallmark Meat Co. had recalled meat after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the company’s raw and frozen beef products might contain foreign material and non-microbial contamination

Sierra Vista Elementary Principal Manuel Lucero told the City Schools board last week that food service director Patricia Baca received an e-mail concerning the recall from the Chino, Calif., company.

Baca’s letter to the board said, “On Feb. 5 the commodities bureau e-mailed all educational agencies to cease in the use of Westland Meat Co. meat products. An inspection of our commodities warehouse indicated that we have 14 cases of ground beef from the Westland Meat Co., which is now on hold. Until we receive further notice of corrective action for the recalled beef, all cases have been marked to indicate that they are part of the recall.”

Baca said in a letter that all efforts are being taken to ensure the safety of food that is being served to the students. She said that she has also been in contact with Rick Abreu, inspector for the state Environment Department, regarding the disposal of the recalled meat, but Abreu had not received a definite answer for the proper disposal of the meat from the USDA.

In her letter, Baca said she would notify the board as soon as a determination from the Environment Department and the USDA was made concerning the recall.

An investigation by the Humane Society at a cattle slaughterhouse led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history. In its investigation, the Humane Society documented animals too sick or injured to stand or walk — called “downers” by the industry — being kicked, beaten, dragged with chains, shocked with electric prods, sprayed in the face with hoses and rammed by forklifts in efforts to get them to their feet to pass USDA inspection.

Much of the recalled meat included products that have been distributed to federal food nutrition programs and private and commercial customers.