Tuesday, July 27


Here's news that I missed late last week: The USDA has sent an FSIS team to investigate the Pilgrim's Pride plant where workers were filmed abusing chickens, though the USDA insists there couldn't be any food-safety issue there. Nawwww. Spokesman Matt Baun said that "depending on the results of that investigation, we may share some of that information with the local authorities who are pursuing the animal abuse side of the situation," he said. The Reuters story continues that "some U.S. consumer groups have questioned whether the alleged animal abuse at the Pilgrim's Pride facility also could hint at lax food safety within the plant. But Baun said federal inspectors would catch any bruised carcasses." Oh, OK, great. Federal inspectors. Whew. EXCEPT... "Baun also confirmed that the Moorefield plant participates in a special USDA program that some consumer groups have criticized for handing too much inspection responsibility over to company employees." Ummmmm... WTF? And spelling out what I said on the first day, "Pilgrim's Pride workers were seen squeezing some chickens with such force 'that the birds expelled feces.' Consumer groups questioned whether that could have spread fecal contamination, a problem in poultry processing." Ya think?

Meanwhile, looking for any way to direct blame away from themselves, Pilgrim's Pride said Monday the surreptitious video taper should have reported findings earlier "so we could have taken immediate action." What a laff riot. Why didn't they take "immediate action" to monitor the kill floor back in 2002 when they caused the biggest meat recall in history?

Oh yeah, and speaking of which, more than 18 tons of cooked chicken is being recalled because it may be contaminated with, yes, listeria. The recall covers 14-pound boxes of "Tyson, Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Filet Fritters with Rib Meat, 3806" and 20-pound boxes of "Spare Time, Fully Cooked, Chicken Breast Fillet Fritters with Rib Meat, 3806." But when you go to the store, try to ask yourself, what will the next recall cover?

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