Hanford meat plant says handling guidelines improved

FRESNO, Calif.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture must now review the company's new plan.

Warning: Some of the above video may be disturbing.

Prompted by the plant shutdown, Central Valley Meat says the company's new animal handling guidelines exceed USDA standards.

Operations at Central Valley Meat in Hanford remain suspended. 450 employees missed out on a week of work at the slaughterhouse.

USDA spokesman Dirk Phillpot told Action News, "the company must first submit a corrective action plan detailing how they intend to comply with humane handling regulations before USDA considers allowing them to operate."

Central Valley Meat says the action plan is in place. The company replied, "we have completed and will implement an action plan that includes enhanced video monitoring of our facilities, an increased number of third-party audits, and more comprehensive training for our personnel..."

This letter signed by Valley Republican Congressmen Devin Nunes, Jeff Denham and Kevin McCarthy asks the USDA to re-open the plant while it is being investigated.

"The USDA came out and said it's not a food safety issue. None of us are questioning that if there was inhumane treatment to animals then that needs to be rectified," Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare said.

It is illegal to slaughter animals which cannot walk on their own but Nunes takes issue with the animal rights group that released the undercover video showing cows being prodded.

"They're radical groups who don't believe in our form of making a living, which is living off the land," Rep. Nunes said.

Democratic Congressman Jim Costa hopes the plant's improved animal welfare measures allow the plant to re-open next week.

"Jobs are hard to get and we have to make sure we get those people back to work as soon as possible," Rep. Costa said.

Rep. Costa added no so-called downer cattle ever made it into the food supply.

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