BALTIMORE (Feb. 20, 2008)—According to State officials, recalled beef from the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company was distributed to the St. Mary's County Public School System (SMCPS). 143 millions pounds of beef were recalled this week after secret video was shot of company employees using cruel and barbaric methods to force sick animals into the slaughterhouse.
Animals which can not walk onto the killing floor themselves must be isolated and reported to government inspectors. Such cattle, termed "downed," are often diseased and linked to mad cow disease.
The meat company is under investigation for processing violations in addition to animal cruelty.
St. Mary's County public school officials today announced that upon being advised of the recall by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), they "immediately" made contact with all school cafeterias and asked each manager to account for the recalled products. The managers were reportedly instructed to place all of these products on hold, label, and remove them from the menu immediately.
School officials say the majority of the meat is centrally located at the SMCPS warehouse facility. "Minimal cases were at the school locations and they are being picked up and will be maintained in a central location until further instructions are received from USDA," according to a statement released today.
Affected meat was also distributed to several other counties under the federal school lunch program. The counties are Anne Arundel, Allegany, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Wicomico, and Worcester.
All beef distributed through USDA school lunch program in Maryland and included in this recall was pre-cooked according to the Maryland State Department of Education.
Federal officials designated this recall as Class II due to the remote probability that the beef being recalled would cause adverse health effects if consumed.
There are no known reports, either nationally or in Maryland, of individuals getting sick from the beef involved in this recall.