IOG Says Hallmark/Westland Was Isolated Incident

Some changes called for to address situation.

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer called for an investigation following the video taped incident involving a downer cow at a California slaughter plant that resulted in the largest beef recall in U.S. history. The Office of the Inspector General released the findings of that investigation earlier this week.

"They did not find any systemic failures and that it was an isolated incident," says Food and Safety Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza. "I do believe that OIG was very specific in that."

However the OIG report does call for better management controls to prevent future incidents from happening. Almanza says USDA has been working to address vulnerabilities in the system before the report was released. Also in May a slaughter ban on downer cattle was enacted by USDA.

"We're also drafting a number of directives, notices and guidance documents that we expect to publish in coming months to further strengthen and clarify inspection activities and responsibilities," Almanza said. "We've also increased the number of our frontline supervisor positions. What that's going to do is reduce the span of control for the frontline supervisors. In other words we are going to increase the number of them to reduce the number of establishments they oversee."

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