The Hallmark/Westland animal handling case is leading to tougher rules. A California bill now proposes fines and jail time for processors that sell meat from non-ambulatory cattle, swine, sheep or goats in that state.
The new bill, approved 6-1 by the Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday, is a response to the animal handling infraction at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. which led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history. The California bill would impose a $20,000 fine and up to a year in county jail for selling meat from downers.
Currently USDA closes facilities that process non-ambulatory animals for meat, however plants are allowed to reopen after they correct the violation or submit a plan for how they will do so.
The new California bill must clear several more legislative hurdles before heading to the governor.