USDA May Limit Info On Meat Recalls

April 9, 2008

Under industry pressure, the U.S. Agriculture Department is considering hiding from consumers information about which retailers might be selling the tainted meat recalled because of health and safety risks.

Currently, the government discloses only the fact of a recall, without listing retailers who might have received tainted meat. USDA is currently finalizing a proposed disclosure rule. A USDA spokesman confirmed to the Associated Press that it is considering not requiring disclosure in "Class II" recalls, those USDA believes involve minimal risk to human health. Naming stores would be mandatory only in more hazardous "Class I" recalls.

The biggest meat recall in US history, prompted when videos showed Chino, Calif., slaughterhouse workers forcing "downer" cattle into the beef processing line, was considered a "Class II" recall, and would not have been subject to store disclosure had the proposed rule been in place.