Pork plant produces meat containing fecal matter

Farmer John (Hormel) Hog Heaven
“(Hormel) Farmer John’s Meat Processing Plant” by M. (2006)*

(Affidavits processed using OCR and might not be in final form)

According to an article reported in the New Republic entitled:

Hormels USDA Food Inspector Scandal Reveals Lax Conditions

“Four U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat inspectors, all working in slaughter operations owned or operated by the Hormel Foods Corporation, have come forward this week with shocking allegations in affidavits offered to the whistleblower protection organization Government Accountability Project (GAP). A government-run pilot program experimenting with a reduced inspection protocol in Hormel-controlled plants “is out of control,” according to Joe Ferguson, who retired in September as an on-line USDA inspector inside Quality Pork Processors, an exclusive co-packer for Hormel located in Austin, Minnesota. Calling the program “a sham the career bureaucrats have drafted to get rid of inspectors,” he warned that higher-ups at the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are “in bed with the regulated industry. The companies are now calling the shots. Pretty soon the agency will have no authority.”
Read entire article here: New Republic

“IF, thanks to an experimental inspection program, a meatpacking firm produces as much as two tons a day of pork contaminated by fecal matter, urine, bile, hair, intestinal contents or diseased tissue, should that count as a success?” – Ted Genoways (NYTimes)

Corporations cannot regulate themselves

The four USDA inspectors released affidavits that say that say that under HIMP, the USDA pilot program that allows that slaughter process control by an industry responsibility, some Hormel plants have increased productivity so much, that it is impossible for the meat to be inspected resulting in meat being contaminated with fecal matter, bile, hair, toenails, scarf, intestines and diseased meat being sold to consumers for consumption.

Corporations do not inspect thoroughly because it slows line speed

USDA Inspector Joe Ferguson said in an affidavit, “Line speeds are running 1,300 carcasses per hour and the company is killing as many as 19,000 hogs per day. This Is a dramatic increase from previously, when they ran at about 1,100 carcasses per hour. It’s impossible to see any defects now. We used to stop the line for bile contamination, chronic pleuritis,hair/toenails/scurf and have these defects trimmed/removed, under HIMP, these are considered, “Other Consumer Protections” and we are no longer alled to stop the line so they may removed. We put them in the cooler and ultimately out to the consumer. The only the we are allowed to stop the line is for food safety concerns, and even then we get yelled at. It’s just nuts.”

On the production line in American packing-houses, there is one cardinal rule: the chain never slows. Under pressure to increase supply, the supervisors of meat-processing plants have routinely accelerated the pace of conveyors, leading to inhumane conditions, increased accidents, and food of questionable, often dangerous quality. – Ted Genoways (The Chain)

Contamination caused by high amperage slaughter and poor training

The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?
The Ultimate Betrayal

Another USDA, known only as Inspector #2, said in an affidavit, “As a result of a poorly trained inspection staff and the pushback USDA inspectors are receiving, product contamination at this plant has increased dramatically under HIMP. One of the leading causes of contamination, in my opinion, begins during the stunning stage. Hogs in the plant are stunned at very high amperage of electricity which causes the animal’s pelvis to break and leads to bruising, blood clots, broken tissue, and the creation of bone shards. This produces the perfect storm because the animal’s bung is dragged through this contamination and into the inspection station, where much of it ends up going undetected because animals are flying by so quickly.

The high amperage of stunning also leads to more bruising and blood clots on the animal, which provides a growing medium for bacteria, such as salmonella. It is interesting that the agency has decided that bruises and blood clots aren’t much of a contamination issue anymore. Unless science has changed—and I’m pretty sure it hasn’t – this is where contamination is going to occur first on the product. Other contaminations such as hair, toenails, cystic kidneys, and bladder stems has increased under HIMP. Line speeds don’t make it any easier to detect contamination. Most of the time, they are running so fast it is impossible to see anything on the carcass. I am opposed to a lot of the contamination that they now allow to enter the cooler. It really is shameful that the agency allows so much contamination permitted on the product.”

Company inspectors can be terminated for doing their job well

USDA Inspector #1 said in an affidavit, “What I have learned from watching the company inspectors is that unlike USDA inspectors, they don’t seem to have much training. At the viscera station, where they are supposed to palpate or “puddle” the animals’ guts, as well as during the process of incising lymph nodes, I’ve witnessed company inspectors make a lot of errors. This is because they weren’t trained in the proper procedures for inspecting the viscera and incising lymph nodes. They aren’t meeting the same standards the USDA inspectors are held to on a regular basis and there is no consistency among the way in-house inspectors take on their tasks.

Factory Farming Exposed: Cruelty to Animals
Factory Farming Exposed

A large part of doing a good job at the viscera station comes from developing a technique. At this station, the inspector is exposed to many of food safety hazards and biological pathogens like salmonella and e. coli. He or she needs to know how to properly feel each organ to detect diseases. The person in this role also needs to understand and maintain preventative measures for ensuring that the carcass isn’t contaminated.

For example, if fecal matter or ingesta spills out of one of the animal’s organs, the employee needs to understand and have the ability to execute the proper precautions needed to make sure that the pathogens don’t spread to other carcasses. Not all employees know and apply these precautions. On numerous occasions, I witnessed them fail to spot abscesses, lesions, fecal matter, and other defects that would render an animal unsafe or unwholesome.

Furthermore, plant inspectors don’t actually want to shut off the line to deal with problems they spot on the job. When I was working at the plant, they scrambled to try to rail out carcasses as fast as they could and it sometimes seemed like there was mass confusion. Unlike USDA personnel, I don’t feel they have the authority to shut off the line. Obviously, their employer will terminate them if they do it too many times. This alone is reason enough to show that HIMP is a bad idea.”

USDA inspectors face harassment and retaliation

USDA Inspector #3 said in an affidavit, “The company also threatens and retaliates against USDA inspectors who actually make efforts to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. I know this because it has happened to me. In fact, the company has made it extremely difficult for me to do my job each and every day. They have also managed to push out veterinarians and other inspectors who performed high-quality inspection.

Basically, if you do your job – meaning that you identify and remove contamination and defects on carcasses – they don’t want you in there. I have personally seen the agency falsify its own records. They have also moved critical control points (CCPs)- points at which food safety problems are supposed to be detected – to a point further down the line and after USDA’s inspection station. This has made it much harder for federal inspectors to write noncompliance reports (NRs) and show system failures that would force the plant to stop and reevaluate their operations. When they moved the CCPs, they got what they wanted and expected. The plant’s fecal failure NRs decreased dramatically.

Meat contains large quantities of fecal matter

The Chain
“The Chain,” T. Genoways

I have been a vegetarian for 25 years. The idea of eating baby-back ribs, bacon, pork chops, grilled steaks or any other type of meat is as unthinkable to me as eating dog fecal matter is to most people. Yet, people will eat other types of shit with delight. It is completely incomprehensible to me is why meat-eaters defend their right to eat chicken, pig and cow fecal matter with such passion.

Meat-eaters know that they are eating shit (fecal matter) and yet they continue to do so with absolute glee. If you tell a meat-eater that they are eating fecal matter, they’ll get very angry. How can somebody eat a hot dog that contains fragments of toenails and hair? Would you eat pork scurf if it was on a plate in front of you? If not, would you eat a stew if you saw me put a teaspoon of scurf into it? Do you even know what scurf is?

“Scurf refers to the thin dry scales detached from the epidermis especially in an abnormal skin condition; specifically: dandruff.” – Merriam-Websters

If atheists are supposed to be smart and to appreciate and respect evidence, why do meat-eating atheists get so angry if you tell them meat contains shit. It does. The next time you pick up that meat product at the supermarket, know that it contains: fecal matter (pig shit), urine, bile, hair, intestinal contents or diseased tissue. Enjoy it.

Science, not slaughter houses

It is possible to make meat for consumers without having to participate in the cruel, environmentally destructive meat industry. New Harvest, a company that produces meat from cell cultures, has already tested cell-culture grown hamburgers.

What New Harvest says about their company

Cultured meat is meat produced in vitro, in a cell culture, rather than from an animal. The production of cultured meat begins by taking a number of cells from a farm animal and proliferating them in a nutrient-rich medium. Cells are capable of multiplying so many times in culture that, in theory, a single cell could be used to produce enough meat to feed the global population for a year. After the cells are multiplied, they are attached to a sponge-like “scaffold” and soaked with nutrients. They may also be mechanically stretched to increase their size and protein content. The resulting cells can then be harvested, seasoned, cooked, and consumed as a boneless, processed meat, such as sausage, hamburger, or chicken nuggets.


NYTimes.com – Making a Pig’s Ear of Food Safety

NewRepublic.com – Whistleblower USDA Food Inspectors on Hormel’s Pork Plants: It’s “Just Nuts”

FoodWhistleBlowers.org – Stop High Speed Hogs

*Image used in article is “Farmer John’s meat processing plant” by M. used with the license: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 M. wrote the following comment about his picture of the “Hog Heaven” Mural that is painted on the (Hormel) Farmer John’s Clougherty Packing Co. in Los Angeles, “There were drawings of happy pigs all over the building. Weird, considering that this a meat packing plant. This area smelled worse that anything I have ever experienced in my life.”