USDA employees suspended over beef recall
March 1, 2008
The Agriculture Department suspended with pay Friday an inspector and a supervisor who monitored the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company plant responsible for the 143 million pounds of beef that were recalled, a union official said.
Stan Painter, chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, said the department told him it “had obtained information warranting placing” the two employees on administrative leave.
The suspensions are the USDA’s latest response to rules violations at the Chino, Calif., plant that led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history, on Feb. 17. Today, Secretary Ed Schafer told senators the agency was increasing random checks and is considering installing video cameras in holding pens for added surveillance.