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Officials Order Largest Beef Recall in US History


U.S. schools and fast-food restaurants are taking one brand of beef off their menus Monday as part of the largest beef recall in American history - 65 million kilograms.

The meat was produced by a California processor accused of violating food safety regulations by slaughtering cattle that were too sick to walk.

Officials say so-called "downer" cattle are at higher risk of diseases - including Mad Cow disease. But they also downplay the health risk to humans in this particular case.

Federal officials suspended operations at the plant last week after undercover video showed crippled and sick animals being shoved into the slaughterhouse by a worker on a forklift.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered the recall Sunday. It covers frozen beef produced over the past two years by the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company.

The USDA says the company exported meat products to Ivory Coast (kidneys and livers) and Angola (kidneys) in 2007. Officials say the company has not exported products to Japan or South Korea since at least 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.