You really need to watch the video further down in this story!
Knock, knock... Sam Webb... are you reading my blog or any other newspapers?
Sam, I notice you have not mentioned this issue. Whatchya waiting for, Mr. Obama to say something?
From Minnesota to Michigan... thirty-four states!
To whom it may concern at the Center for Responsive Politics:
Re: I can not locate political campaign contributions made by Steve Mendell or his company WESTLAND/HALLMARK MEAT CO. also d/b/a: Westland Meat Co.
Can you help me?
This company, in addition to supplying meat/meat products to public school children, also sells meat to the Indian Gaming industry. I do not know if you are aware of this, but, the meat sold through these casinos, hotels, motels, theme parks and restaurants does not require any inspections so millions of casino patrons may be at risk as there are some 400 of these operations strung out across the United States.
Right now I think it becomes very important to find out if United States Congressman Collin Peterson (Minnesota 7th Congressional District) has been the recipient of any campaign contributions made by this company (and or its affiliates), its executives and employees or any industry organizations receiving funds from them, which are tagged for campaign contributions. I also think we need to know if State Representatives Bernie Lieder, Dave Olin, Frank Moe, Brita Sailer, and State Senators Leroy Stumpf and Rod Skoe were recipients of such contributions.
Obviously a company slaughters sick and old cows with full and complete knowledge of what they are doing and I find it completely unacceptable that the politicians representing the areas have not called for full and complete prosecutions and I find something very strange and unusual the that Chair of the powerful House Committee on Agriculture has not forcefully asserted his voice calling for full prosecution of these corporate officials and the inspectors employed by the USDA.
The issue raised here is the integrity of the United States Department of Agriculture and the health and safety of the entire country’s food supply. This is just one more indication that corporate profits trump everything else when it comes to the Bush Administration and its cozy relationship with the corporations. Do we even know what put these animals down? Do we know where these animals are coming from?
Why Minnesota public schools are purchasing beef from a California company rather than from Minnesota farmers and processors needs to be examined. If the prices are so much cheaper than this should have set off alarm bells on the part of these highly educated public school officials along with the elected members of public school boards.
We also need to know if Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck is the attorney of record or lobbyist for this company or any of the industry organizations this company may be affiliated with or belong to.
I am looking for campaign contributions this company may be making to politicians. I find it strange I can’t find anything given what is taking place:
Link to news article from our local paper, Northern Watch: http://www.nwatch.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6934&Itemid=1
Written by April Scheinoha
Eighteen local school districts and two local private schools likely received beef from a California company that is accused of slaughtering sick and old cows, according to the Minnesota Department of Education. Four of those local school districts are listed as having Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing company beef on hold.
Alan L. Maki
Member, State Central Committee, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
Check out my blog:
Thoughts From Podunk
GR schools holding 10 tons of recalled beef
Posted by Barton Deiters | The Grand Rapids Press February 17, 2008 21:15PM
Posted 9:15 p.m. Sunday
GRAND RAPIDS -- In a freezer at the Grand Rapids Public Schools food service facility sits 20,000 pounds of hamburger that will never rest on a bun.
The meat, bought through a contract with the federal government, is part of a recall by a California meatpacker being investigated for abusing its cattle.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co.
Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat likely was small.
Area school districts were made aware of a potential problem two weeks ago, when the USDA sent out a notice telling them not to use the meat until further notice, according to Paul Baumgartner, director of nutrition services for Grand Rapids Public Schools.
Baumgartner said the USDA provided lot numbers for the meat, which was sold under a variety of brand names, and the district separated the meat out.
He said this is typical operating procedure for school districts throughout West Michigan.
"As soon as the notices go out, we're calling each other and taking the same action," Baumgartner said.
Westland/Hallmark meats, according to food service director John Henry. Wyoming Public Schools nutrition director Mike Slager would not comment on whether his district used the meat, but said he was aware of the possible recall for more than two weeks.
West Ottawa Public Schools had some meat it had to set aside and, like other districts, has procedures in place whenever they receive notifications of recalls or possible problems, according to Sara Scheuermann, director of child nutrition and food service.
"This is something we all take very seriously," she said.
The hamburger was part of a variety of meats provided through the USDA's high-volume contracts in the National School Lunch Program. The affected meat was primarily used by schools, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Meijer Inc. spokeswoman Stacie Behler said the grocery retailer never sold any of the meat.
McDonald's and Burger King said it did not use Westland/Hallmark meats, and a pair of West Coast-based fast food chains, Jack-In-the-Box and In-N-Out, stopped using the meat. Neither has locations in West Michigan.
A Humane Society video shows cows being abused at a slaughterhouse
Two former employees were charged Friday. Five felony counts of animal cruelty and three misdemeanors were filed against a pen manager. Three misdemeanor counts -- illegal movement of a nonambulatory animal -- were filed against an employee who worked under that manager. Both were fired.
Authorities said the video showed workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing "downer" animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Some animals had water forced down their throats, San Bernardino County prosecutor Michael Ramos said.
No charges have been filed against Westland, but an investigation by federal authorities continues.
Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten.
"We don't know how much product is out there right now. We don't think there is a health hazard, but we do have to take this action," said Dr. Dick Raymond, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety.
Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease because they typically wallow in feces and their immune systems are often weak.
Baumgartner of the Grand Rapids Public Schools said the USDA inspects the meat after it is processed and it detected no diseases or contamination in the meat from Westland/Hallmark.
Baumgartner said he hopes the USDA will replace or reimburse schools fully for the lost meat.
"For us this is a significant amount of money," Baumgartner said.
Nonetheless, he said, students will not notice any interruption in service as the district either changes its menu or substitutes meat from other sources.
Federal lawmakers on Thursday had called for the Government Accountability Office to investigate the safety of meat in the National School Lunch Program.
Upon learning about the recall, some legislators criticized the USDA, saying the federal agency should conduct more thorough inspections to ensure tainted beef doesn't get to the public.
Advocacy groups also weighed in, noting the problems at Westland wouldn't have been revealed had it not been for animal right activists.
"On the one hand, I'm glad that the recall is taking place. On the other, it's somewhat disturbing, given that obviously much of this food has already been eaten," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union. "It's really closing the barn door after the cows left."
Press wire services contributed to this story.