USDA orders nation's largest beef recall

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is ordering the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse.

The Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, which provides meat to school lunch programs, is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation.

Officials say it's 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 say the health threat is likely small.

The recall will affect beef products dating to February 1st, 2006.

Federal officials suspended operations at Westland/Hallmark after an undercover Humane Society video surfaced showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts.

Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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