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Controversial Hanford slaughterhouse recalls beef

Hanford's Central Meat Company has recalled 58,000 pounds of ground beef meant for the National School Lunch Program. Photo by earthintransition.org.Hanford's Central Meat Company has recalled 58,000 pounds of ground beef meant for the National School Lunch Program. Photo by earthintransition.org.(AP) — A Kings County meat company embroiled in an undercover animal abuse scandal last year is recalling more than 58,000 pounds of ground beef that may contain small pieces of plastic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Thursday the problem was discovered during an inspection that was prompted by customer complaints.

The recalled meat from Central Valley Meat Company in Hanford was intended for use by the National School Lunch Program.

The meat being recalled was produced on April 1 and shipped to distribution centers in Arkansas, California, Montana and Texas. The USDA and the company have not received any reports of illness or injury from the consumption of the meat.

Animal advocacy group Compassion Over Killing released video footage last year purported to be filmed by an undercover investigator of sick dairy cows being shocked, prodded and sprayed with water while being led to slaughter at Central Valley Meat Company.

Backlash from the footage led to In-N-Out Burger, McDonald's and Costco reportedly severing ties with the company at the time. The USDA also stopped buying meat from the company for about a month until it determined the company had corrected humane handling violations.

Foodsafetynews.com reported the USDA purchased about 135 million pounds of beef products from Central Valley Meat Company in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Brian Coelho, manager of Central Valley Meat Company, issued the following statement regarding the recall:

"Central Valley Meat is working diligently to identify and address the source of the problem. We will strive to not only maintain but improve the safety of our product, since food safety has always been our number-one priority."

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The Business Journal contributed to this report.