A.P.H.I.S. (The U.S.D.A. Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service), says they are cracking down under the Obama Administration to penalize violators of health inspection rules, but the company Rancho Feeding Company, a California-based company under criminal investigation for evading government inspection while processing diseased animals, isn't a great example.
Despite A.P.H.I.S. claims that they are scrutinizing slaughter plants that go undetected because of an absence of inspectors, a 9 million-pound recall of beef is just a little too late. F.S.I.S. issued a directive to U.S.D.A. inspectors in 2008 on how to conduct themselves when a plant operates outside of regular hours or without inspection oversight. There have been 5 recalls since then, a relatively small number considering how many sluaghter houses exist in the United States. The lack of inspection oversight, due to budget cuts to the USDA and particularly to APHIS, which handles plant health, animal health and animal welfare, including the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, is now responding to comments on the issue. The Animal Welfare Act is not enforced not exactly to the letter of the law, but rather administered according to "policy", the USDA told The Examiner. This means that agricultural producers, and other offenders such as circuses, breeders, "B" dealers who sell animals to research laboratories and others, operate basically with little interference from the USDA.
The lack of supervision and the application of "policy" rather than law results in an unsafe food safety consumption average and surely a cuel and inhumane life for animals who are barely protected under the existing law as it is.
Food safety advocates are outraged at the recall and the lack of inspection oversight, despite APHIS claims they are increasing efforts to catch offenders in the act.