An undercover investigator for the Humane Society of the United States allegedly taped workers at the Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, Calif., delivering electric shocks to cows too sick to stand, using forklifts to move downed cattle and other acts, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Humane Society investigators and federal documents said Hallmark sells meat for processing to the U.S. Agricultural Department's commodities program for sale in school lunch programs for the needy, winning a Supplier of the Year award for the 2004-05 school year.
Steve Mendell, a ranking official with Hallmark, vehemently denied the allegations in an interview with the Post, though it was unclear whether he had seen the video.
"That's impossible," he said of the acts depicted in the tape.
Downed cows are kept out of the food chain for possible "mad-cow" disease and E. coli and salmonella contamination, though health inspectors will allow any cow seen standing during examinations into the food chain .
Kenneth Petersen with the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Office of Field Operations told the Post if evidence alleged in the video was corroborated ,"you're done. You're suspended. Everything stops."