Health and Family Services Cabinet
Kentucky Department for Public Health Responds to National Beef Recall
The Food Safety Branch – a part of the Department for Public Health’s Public Health Protection and Safety Division – has issued an advisory regarding the nationwide recall of beef.
“We deal with many food recalls over the course of the year, but this one is larger than most,” said William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and DPH commissioner. “We wanted to ensure that our citizens were aware of the recalled products.”
The Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company, a Chino, Calif., establishment is voluntarily recalling approximately 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef products. The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture has deemed the food unfit for human consumption because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection.
The DPH advisory was sent to all 120 local health departments, the Kentucky Grocers Association, the Kentucky Restaurant Association, the CHFS Office of Inspector General and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
“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.
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.
These products were sent to wholesale distributors nationwide and bear the establishment number “EST. 336” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were produced on various dates from Feb.1, 2006, to Feb. 2, 2008. Recalls to wholesalers are in progress. Some of the products were purchased for federal food and nutrition programs. USDA has had an administrative hold on all of these distributed products.
More information can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov and http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/phps/foodrecalls.htm