I have been waiting for actual facts to update you. Lots of rumors and little facts other than there is an investigation.
Rumor: USDA on-site agent complained of harassment and illegal practices in the plant.
Fact: The USDA local representative stated complaints have been made since last August.
The USDA investigative branch, Food Safety and Inspection (FSIS) has stated they have found no documentation to support any harassment or concerns of practices in the plant to support the local representative's statements.
Rumor: Cancerous cattle have been sold into the human meat market.
Fact: No cattle has been identified as cancerous nor have there been any complaints of illness.
So far there has been no information that has supported the need for a recall of any size.
The investigation continues.
Good news, the USDA has not destroyed the meat that was processed “Custom”. We are in that group. Jared Huffman has been able to secure a meeting between a USDA representative and us to consider releasing our beef given the health of our cattle and the inspecting steps we go through as they are significantly different that the process under investigation.
I believe it is important to have government regulation. But, let’s face it. When human beings get involved in anything, we all have a point of view and sometimes we overstep and/or we don’t quite hit the mark. Working together with a bit of common sense is the goal here. No poison food and no food lost that is healthy. Clean, healthy, environmentally sustainable food is what we all want.
I am hopeful. In the meantime we are encouraging our local government to assist the USDA to quickly open the plant with the new owner, David Evans, CEO, Marin Sun Farms. David is an excellent business man and will be a good partner in the healthy food movement.
Thanks for all the support! It has been stressful but also nice to be talking to so many of you either by phone, in person or by e-mail. I have felt supported and taken care of. Actually had moments of smiling knowing you are all out there. Your Grateful Farmer.
Tara F. Smith