Another Recall, Another Reason To Buy Local
On November 16th 2022, Tyson Fresh Meats. Inc (one of the big five packers) announced that it is recalling approximately 93,697 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically reflective mirror-like material.
All of this ground beef was produced in a single day at their Amarillo, Texas plant.
Assuming you yield 450lbs of usable beef from one steer, this would represent approximately 208 head of beef.
Currently, Lily Hill Farm hopes to processes approximately 60 head per year (5 per month), so this ground beef recall, from one single day of ground beef production at one of the big 5 plants, would represent 3 1/2 years of total beef production for Lily Hill Farm.
Imagine if we ground up and threw away all of our steers for three and a half years...!
The sad thing is, this isn't exactly a rare occurrence, nor is it a particularly large recall for these big 5 packers.
The largest ever recall of beef was in 2008.
In February of 2008 143 MILLION pounds of beef was "voluntarily" recalled by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company of Chino, California.
The beef, produced from February 2006 until the U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations at the meat plant on Feb. 2, 2008, may have been contaminated because of "inhumane" practices at the plant, including the processing of cattle too ill to walk.
143 Million Pounds of beef would represent 317,000 head of cattle and 5,296 years of production at Lily Hill Farm, just recalled and thrown away.
Only 2.2 Million Pounds of this beef was recovered, meaning that over 140 Million pounds of this meat was likely consumed.
As a silver lining, the company responsible for this terrible waste and inhumane practices were financially crippled by this recall and went out of business shortly afterwards.
Some other notable mentions:
When you buy local, you are also supporting small, local processing plants, most of whom are also farmers and care more about the cattle than their bottom line.
A recall of any kind for a small packer would likely ruin them overnight, so these small packers take many extra steps to ensure the meat leaving their facility is of impeccable quality.
The processor we chose to use is Certified Humane and Certified Organic. His plant is located ON his family farm and he produces all of his own beef - he is much more concerned about the well being of the cattle and their humane handling than he is his bottom line.