I am a self-proclaimed foodie. I love good food more than just about anything and am definitely aware of what I put into my body. I am not necessarily a healthy eater, just a slightly conscious one. As a result, I am very interested in knowing about the food industry and FDA regulations. The government’s role in what we’re allowed to consume has always intrigued me so, for paper 2, I decided to look into food recalls. I found this article about the five biggest and most influential food recalls recently and discovered the Hallmark/Westland meat recall of 2008, the largest of its kind in the history of this country.
This recall caught my eye because nobody got sick from consuming Hallmark/Westland’s products nor were their products infected with any disease. The company was forced to recall 143 million pounds of beef because of an undercover video (Warning! The video is graphic) distributed by the Humane Society that showed severe animal mistreatment and sickly cattle on their way to slaughter. Hallmark/Westland were not treating their animals correctly and, as a result, were forced to recall two years worth of meat, most of which was destined for schoolchildren’s lunches.
The situation surrounding Hallmark/Westland was especially unfortunate because they had passed government tests. The recall ignited a public firestorm and garnered negative attention for most government food organizations, especially the USDA. My primary question is how did Hallmark/Westland get to this point and how could they send such questionable meat to unsuspecting consumers. Is money really more important than health? The meat industry is already so controversial that this recall and the history surrounding it are extremely inflammatory and upsetting.