Sunday, February 24


With apparently no intended irony, the general manager of Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co told The Wall Street Journal on, ahem, Friday that the company would almost certainly have to close, using colorful terminology: "If the USDA wants payment back, we're dead meat. We're done." said Anthony Magidow. "There's no way we could pay it all back." Would it be mixing metaphors too much to call this - the perpetrators of so much egregious suffering and death seeing themselves as equivalent to the garbage product they've put out for the past two years - as "delicious"? OK, how about "poetic"? Whatever - a major meat producer giving up the business is good news, and a signal to all who would attempt to fill that gap that getting into such a business today is a terrible idea.

So in the long run, this works out equivalent to my "option A" for the USDA. But I will really be astonished if they include "option B."

UPDATE: Here's a passable attempt at a big-picture "meat safety" overview from just the plants around San Diego. It exposes a good crop of extremely unsavory details about meat processing, but utterly fails to address the central issue of this recall - downers, and therefore potential BSE, in the food supply - and winds up pretty much endorsing meat processors' viewpoint that USDA inspections are too diligent and nitpicky. "[I]nspectors have such a lengthy checklist that invariably, they find something wrong." Invariably? Take a look at that video, pal - seems somewhat, shall we say, variable.

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