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No Sanitary Problems at U.S. Slaughterhouses

Posted May. 30, 2008 03:01,   


The government said no problems have been found in sanitary conditions after its inspectors examined 30 U.S. slaughterhouses certified by the federal government.

A nine-member special inspection team, led by Sohn Chan-joon, director of livestock product safety at the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, was dispatched to the United States to scrutinize the sanitary and quarantine conditions in the designated slaughterhouses between May 12 and 26.

Director Sohn said at a press briefing at the Gwacheon Government Complex that, “Our inspection at the U.S. slaughterhouses found that the sanitary condition of the facilities and workers meet our satisfaction.”

He explained that, “Slaughter was being conducted after properly categorizing cattle over 30 months old and under the age.” He added, “Trained experts were sorting out cattle to be slaughtered through various methods such as by identifying their age with the number of teeth and birth records.” The inspection report said cattle over 30 months old were distinguished using ear tags and pigment when slaughtered.

Sohn said, “Inspectors confirmed that the specified risk materials (SRMs) were accurately eliminated at slaughtering and meat processing. We found that at least 2 meters of the attached and uncoiled small intestine proximal to the ileo-cecal junction were being removed and a considerable number of slaughter facilities were removing the complete intestines.”

“According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, of the yearly beef output of 11.86 million tons, 15 percent, or 1.81 million tons, is from cattle over 30 months old. But most of them are consumed as grind beef,” he added.

He stressed that, “Given 95 percent of U.S. beef imports in 2003, prior to the mad cow disease outbreak, were from the upper three grades such as Prime, Choice and Select, chances are low that the imports will be from cattle over 30 months old.”

The inspection team carried out examinations in 30 slaughterhouses in 14 states. All of the slaughter facilities were certified by the federal government, which means they can export beef products to foreign countries. In the United States, there are about 3,000 slaughterhouses, and 808 of them are authorized by the federal government. The rest of them are allowed to distribute beef within its own state.