Friday, August 1, 2008

Beef Plant to Re-Open

Hallmark/Westland has a buyer: report

By Tom Johnston on 7/31/2008

Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., the Chino, Calif.-based processor that has been on death row since abuse of non-ambulatory cows at its processing plant prompted the largest beef recall in U.S. history, has a buyer, according to the Press-Enterprise.

Arizona livestock broker and rancher Marvin Roberts, president and CEO of Phoenix-based Roberts Enterprises, reportedly aims to establish a new slaughterhouse and processing operation by September under a new company called American Beef Packers Inc. The company would employ some 250 people.

Roberts visited Chino on Tuesday to review permits and inspect the Hallmark plant, which is in escrow, the PE reported.

Roberts said he plans to install surveillance cameras and institute training on humane handling practices. "I don't want to have an issue like [the recall] again," he was quoted as saying.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is still reviewing Roberts' application.

Hallmark/Westland still owes money to USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, which filed a "warranty action" against the company for $67.2 million.

"If Westland does not respond to AMS, we will initiate legal action against the company," AMS spokeswoman Becky Unkenholz was quoted as saying. Link

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