Beef sales sliding after recall

Beef sales at local grocery stores have plummeted after the U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered the largest beef recall in U.S. history Feb. 17. The USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef when a slaughterhouse in Chino, Calif. was accused of mistreating cows.

“People are scared to buy the beef,” said Marcus Jones, a meat manager at Winn-Dixie located on West Tharpe Street in Tallahassee. “They think they are getting the meat that was recalled.”

Jones assured Winn-Dixie did not receive the recalled meat.

North Monroe street Publix manager Al Curry said, “We did not get any of the (recalled) meat.”

The Humane Society in January accused Westland/Hallmark Meat Packaging Company of abusing “downed” cattle. The Humane Society released a video showing workers kicking cows, jabbing them near their eyes, ramming them with a forklift and shooting high-intensity water up their noses in an effort to force them to their feet for slaughter, reports.

The news of the beef recall has led to about a 10 percent decrease in beef sales at the Wal-Mart on West Tennessee street, according to Meat Manager Lawanda Walker.  

Walker said Wal-Mart has not had to remove any meat from its shelves.  

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer released a statement via the USDA Web site saying: “I am dismayed at the inhumane handling of cattle that has resulted in the violation of food safety regulations at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company.”

Dick Raymond, USDA undersecretary for food safety told CNN “the great majority” of the meat has probably been eaten already.

USDA officials have begun tracing the whereabouts of the recalled meat, Raymond added.

Tallahassee grocery store managers from Winn Dixie, Publix and Wal-Mart are ensuring that they did not purchase meat from the Westland/Hallmark Meat Packaging Company.