Recent Beef Recall Sparking Alternatives To Markets

By Justin Culligan

July 22, 2010 Updated Feb 19, 2008 at 6:53 PM EDT

Does the latest beef recall have you thinking about where you buy your meat?

School districts and a few fast food restaurants nationwide say they will no longer buy from California meat company.

The US Agriculture Department recalled 143 million pounds of beef from Westland Hallmark.

Workers were secretly videotaped abusing sick or crippled animals.

Sick animals are supposed to be kept out of the food supply.

So far the USDA does not believe there's a health hazard in this case.

There are few alternatives to getting meat from big packing plants.

Beef has long been a big part of the American diet.

It's marketed as What's For Dinner.

But recent recalls may have people asking "What's in their beef.", or "Where does it come from."

"Everything is pretty much mass produced today. They're doing so many cattle, so fast today to keep up with the supply of food for the world, basically," says owner of Sweeney's Markets Al Fargnoli.

The result?

Lots of meat being processed, packaged, and distributed in a short period of time.

He assures his customers that the quality of beef in his store is top notch.

"We ask that all our providers actually have letters stating how, and when, and how often they actually test their meat before it reaches us," says Fargnoli.

For the average consumer, there are few alternatives to buying meat at the market.

But, those that raise their own livestock are in luck.

They can turn to places like Dottie-Lou Packing Company in Stevensville, Pennsylvania.

"It's more hands on instead of mass produced. People bring a cow in, and whatever they feed it is what they're getting back," says Jeri Lynn Scavazzo, co-owner of Dottie-Lou Packing Co.

And it's cost effective too.

"You're only paying for the cutting and the wrapping of it, so yeah it's definitely cheaper," says Scavazzo.

Even if you don't have the option of raising your own cattle, the USDA says there is just a remote chance of getting sick from bad beef.

And proper cooking's always important no matter where you buy your beef.

Local vendors say the recent recall hasn't had a huge impact on sales.

Now into the early spring is typically the slowest time of year for distributors of meat products.

Business tends to pick up as the summer months approach.

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