retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports this morning that Valley Meat, the New Mexico company "seeking to become the first slaughter house for horses in the United States since 2007," has a history of complaints over its food safety and sanitary procedures.

According to the story, the complaints came "over a two-year period from federal food safety inspectors and state regulatory authorities over its disposal of animal remains when it processed cattle for beef," and "included a 2010 letter to state health officials from an Agriculture Department inspector reporting that piles of animal remains were as high as 15 feet high along the back property line of the plant."

A lawyer for the slaughterhouse tells the Times that the owners "had been struggling financially because of the sharp drop in beef cattle prices over the last three years and could not afford to have the compost and other waste hauled from the facility.," and that "there were never any environmental concerns or health hazards at the site."

State officials, however, say this characterization is "factually inaccurate." The questions about the slaughterhouse's past activities are seen as a possible impediment to approvals from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) of its application to begin slaughtering horses for human consumption.

The Times also writes that this week, bills have been introduced in both the US Senate and US House of Representatives that would "prohibit horse slaughter for human consumption and forbid the transport of horses across the border for slaughter in other countries." The bill is at least in part a reaction to the "recent uproar over horse meat" in Europe that began began "when trace amounts were found in products labeled 100 percent beef. Major food companies and restaurant chains, like Nestlé and Taco Bell, pulled products off shelves and tables in 14 countries."
KC's View:
I'm just glad to find out that the slaughterhouse is not owned by Jack Woltz, and that one of the carcasses out back isn't that of Khartoum.

BTW...the European horse meat scandal just keeps galloping along, with new revelations coming almost every day. Yesterday, it was Tesco saying that it had pulled a private brand frozen meatloaf from store shelves because tests showed that the supposedly all-beef product was actually five percent horse meat.