In Feb. 21-27 issue
By Greg Wells
Times Journal Managing Editor
JAMESTOWN - There no beef from the plant that has had a national recall at any of the Russell County Schools, according to school officials.
"To my knowledge we didn't get any of that here," said Superintendent Scott Pierce.
That doesn't mean precautions weren't taken.
"We took beef off the menu until we knew that for sure," explained Susan Melton, the district's food service director.
Kentucky's agriculture and health departments released statements this week warning that Hallmark / Westland Meat Packing Company, of California has recalled approximately 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef products.
The recall was pushed by the federal agency after a video tape was released by a animal welfare group showing cattle that couldn't walk which were dragged, rolled or carried by forklift into the slaughter house.
USDA officials said about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to the National School Lunch Program and other domestic nutrition programs nationwide.
A small portion of the recalled beef was distributed to 17 school districts across Kentucky. The Department of Agriculture and DPH are working with school systems to inform them about the recall and to ensure student safety.
The recalled beef went directly from Hallmark/Westland to other processors to be processed into other products before going to Kentucky schools, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Division of Food Distribution, which administers USDA food programs in Kentucky.
USDA awarded the contract to Hallmark/Westland to supply beef products for the School Lunch Program and other nutrition programs.
"Because this is a nationwide recall, we understand that some of the product could have been marketed in Kentucky," said Hacker. "This recall is not a priority Class I recall, but there is some reason to believe that because proper inspections may not have taken place, the safety of the meat cannot be 100 percent assured."
At this time there are no illnesses reported associated with the recalled beef. However, this measure is being taken to reduce the risk of potential exposure to consumers, according to DPH.
More information can be found at www.fsis.usda.gov