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Information on Hallmark/Westland Beef Recall (Updated 3/12)

MEDIA CONTACTS:  - FOR GEORGIA SPECIFIC QUESTIONS: Dana Tofig, GaDOE Communications office, (404) 463-1487,     - FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RECALL AND THE INVESTIGATION: Debbie Haston-Hilger, USDA, (404) 562-1810 or Amanda Eamich, Food Safety and Inspection Service, (202) 720-9113   February 18, 2008 -- On Sunday, (Feb. 17), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recalled 143 million pounds of beef that originated at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Co. plant in California. Some of this meat was used for school nutrition programs around the country under a USDA contract. There were 39 school systems in Georgia that purchased products containing the recalled beef.   The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is notifying all school systems today of the recall and the proper procedures for destroying the beef. The recalled meat must be destroyed following strict USDA procedures. Once this is done, the systems will notify the GaDOE's School Nutrition division and they will report out to USDA.   School systems will be reimbursed for the cost of destroying the recalled beef as long as they follow USDA protocols. It is not clear if school systems will be reimbursed for the cost of the lost food. That decision will rest with USDA.   Some of the beef in question has been consumed. But USDA officials stress that there is a very low risk of illness, since Westland did put its cattle through the required pre-slaughter screenings.    UPDATE ON "STAGE TWO" RECALL (FEBRUARY 25)   On February 19, the USDA notified GaDOE's School Nutrition Program that the Westland recall was being expanded into "Stage 2." Products dating back to February 2006 that contain Westland Beef must be destroyed per USDA protocol. The USDA sent specific information to the GaDOE in the afternoon of February 22. That information is being shared with schools today (Monday, February 25).   The Stage 2 Recall may involve more systems than the initial -- or Stage 1 -- recall. As GaDOE receives information, we will update this webpage.   The USDA continues to emphasize that this recall is due to procedural violations only and there is very little chance that the recalled beef is tainted.    UPDATE ON "STAGE THREE" RECALL (FEBRUARY 27)   At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, the USDA again expanded its recall to "Stage 3."   The GaDOE's School Nutrition division sent an email to school systems this morning (February 27) saying some USDA beef products made with Westland Meat shipped between 2005 and this year needed to be recalled. School systems have been notified of the specific products and processors involved.    GEORGIA SPECIFIC INFORMATION  - 39 school systems bought products that were made from the beef involved in the "Stage One" recall. These systems bought products that used a total of 6,300 cases of the Westland beef. Each case contained about 60 pounds of beef.  - The beef was purchased by USDA and at the request of local systems sent to processing plants that turned it into food products used by cafeterias, such as patties and beef crumbles. Those products were then sent to the school systems.  - 33 of the 39 school systems have notified us that they have some of the products containing the recalled beef.  - There have been no reports of illness in our school systems related to the school lunch program.   MORE INFORMATION:   1)  Statement from Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer on the recall    2)  Questions and Answers on the Beef recall    3)  Food Safety and Inspection Services Press Release on the Recall  ( in Spanish )    4)  February 13, 2008 Press Release and Media Availability with Superintendent Cox   5)  School Districts Involved in Stage 1 Recall (See below for Stage 2 or 3 Recalls)   The following systems have notified GaDOE that they have some products containing the recalled beef:  Atlanta City  Barrow County  Bartow County  Carroll County  Carrollton City  Cartersville City  Cherokee County  Clayton County  Cobb County  Coffee County  Dalton City  Decatur County  DeKalb County  Fannin County  Floyd County  Forsyth County  Fulton County  Gordon County  Grady County  Griffin-Spalding County  Gwinnett County  Harris County (added 2/21) Jackson County  Lamar County  Marion County  Murray County  Newton County  Paulding County  Pickens County  Putnam County (added 2/21) Richmond County  Tift County  Ware County   The following systems purchased products containing beef from Hallmark/Westland but reported having none of the products on hand:  Berrien County  Lowndes County  Marietta City Muscogee County** Oconee County  Wilkinson County  ** - Muscogee County participated in the USDA program, but has not purchased any products made with the recalled meat.  6)  Districts who have notified the Georgia Department of Education that they have products under the Stage 2 or 3 recalls :   STAGE 2  Berrien County Cherokee County Coffee County Forsyth County Hall County Paulding County Pickens County   STAGE 3  Bibb County Bryan County Catoosa County Clarke County Crawford County Dawson County Douglas County Grady County Harris County Lamar County Mitchell County Oconee County Pickens County Pulaski County Trion City Turner County Walker County Washington County White County