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April 13, 1999

USDA Declares Product From Thorn Apple Valley Unfit For Human Consumption

WASHINGTON, DC (SafetyAlerts) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today that all products produced by Thorn Apple Valley, at its Forrest City, Ark. meat and poultry processing plant, are unfit for human consumption. Thorn Apple Valley's plant is USDA Establishment Number 13529/P-13529.

Production of frankfurter and lunch combination products at the plant ceased on December 31, 1998, when USDA suspended the assignment of inspectors based on the plant's non-compliance with sanitation requirements. Subsequently, Thorn Apple Valley voluntarily recalled all product produced after July 6, 1998.

On the basis of information from an ongoing investigation , FSIS has reason to believe that all meat and poultry products manufactured by and distributed from Establishment 13529/P13529 were not prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Meat and Poultry Products Inspection Acts. These products may contain physical, chemical and/or microbiological contaminants that render the product adulterated and not fit for human consumption.

Thorn Apple Valley was notified that all product on hold is unfit for human consumption and cannot be reprocessed for human consumption.

Currently, Thorn Apple Valley has approximately 9 million pounds of meat and poultry products on hold in warehouses in the United States. Over 12 million pounds of products subject to the recall were exported to Russia and South Korea. FSIS has notified appropriate international officials of the decision on the Thorn Apple Valley product.

FSIS is confident that the products from the Thorn Apple Valley plant in Forrest City are already on hold due to the January recall. However, consumers are once again reminded to check their refrigerators for any product bearing "EST 13529" or "EST P-13529" anywhere on the product. "Because of the potential of foodborne illness, we urge consumers not to eat it," said John McCutcheon, acting deputy administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Consumers with food safety questions may phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline is staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday and recorded information is available 24 hours a day.

Thorn Apple Valley Issues Clarification on USDA Release

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