Recall hits packaged food giants

From Bloomberg News

General Mills Inc. and Nestle, two of the world's largest food makers, have asked supermarkets to remove some of their products affected by the biggest U.S. meat recall.

General Mills said it recalled 35,000 cases of Progresso Italian Wedding soup containing beef that a supplier got from the Westland/Hallmark Meat Packing Co. in Chino. Nestle Prepared Foods Co. recalled 49,264 cases of Hot Pocket sandwiches with beef a vendor obtained from the slaughterhouse.

Food makers responded to a Feb. 22 letter from Westland/Hallmark issuing a voluntary recall of more than 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef produced from Feb. 1, 2006, through Feb. 15. Federal investigations determined the beef unfit for people to eat because of improper inspection.

Video footage released in January by the Humane Society of the United States showed cows that couldn't walk being pushed by a forklift and dragged by a chain.

Slaughtering so-called downer cows for human consumption violates federal regulations. The hobbled cows should have been examined more thoroughly after slaughter to determine whether they were fit to eat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Feb. 17. It called the risk of human illness from eating the beef "remote."

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