In addition to many years experience in detecting abnormal and contaminated products, I also received formal training and completed courses at Ohio State University in microbiology, chemistry, statistics and meat processing.
For 13 years I inspected a wide variety of meat and poultry manufacturing meats and boneless meats in Enid, Oklahoma, at Establishments 2260 and 7276. Prior to moving to Enid, I performed similar inspection duties for 6 and one-half years in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I have received nine letters of commendation and various cash awards. I have also received a letter of gratitude from the USDA Grading Service for my discovery of tainted school lunch ground beef. My actions permitted the USDA Grading Service to stop the beef before it was consumed by school children.
I have testified before the Congress of the United States on two separate occasions. On May 15, 1991, I testified concerning the inability of the USDA’s Canadian Streamlined Inspection System to prevent unwholesome meat from entering the U.S. On February 18, 1993, I testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Competitiveness on Food Safety as it Relates to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On both occasions I testified about USDA abuses and failures which were exposing American consumers to dangerous, uninspected, adulterated beef being imported into the U.S. from Canada.
I am trained to determine the cleanliness and wholesomeness of meat products by checking for illegal or harmful chemicals, toxins and pathogens. Curing my inspection, I feel, smell and visually examine the meat samples. I look for blood clots, bruises, bone fragments, ingestaffecal material, foreign materials (e.g., wood, glass, insects, grease from machines, etc.), hide pathologic lesions, and what I would call an off condition (putrid, sour-smelling meat; puss-filled abscesses; etc.). According to USDA criteria, I classify any defects as "minor," "major," or "critical." Finally, I compare the totals of each category with statistical sampling plans to decide whether or not to refuse entry of the product.
Like many Americans, I am deeply saddened by the suffering and death caused by USDA-approved, contaminated beef. As an inspector, I feel particularly responsible for the safety of our meat and poultry. I also believe in FSIS's potential to live up to its mandate to protect the nation's food supply. For these reasons, I feel a duty to speak out about the blatant violations of the Import Inspection Procedures Manual, the poor management practices and the dangerous threats to public health that I witness.
In approximately 1989, Mr. Mark Manis, Director of FSISs Import Inspection Division (IID), verbally instructed me to ignore the random sample numbers generated by the Automated Import Information System (AIIS) computer. In addition, Mr. Niles Nay, my director supervisor, instructed me in 1989 to look at only those samples at the rear of the truck/trailer. Further, in approximately 1992, Mike Grasso, the new director of the USDA-FSIS IID instructed me not to use the random numbers provided by AIIS on cattle or hog carcasses, but to only take product exam units from the rear of the Canadian truck/trailers. As a meat inspector, I rely heavily on random sampling to select which lots/boxes of meat will be inspected and what type of inspection will occur. I am required by FSIS rules to use these random numbers. To be instructed verbally not to do so is a direct violation of the Import Inspection Procedures book.
Beef carcasses are brought across the border in 18-wheel, semi- trailer trucks. Each semi carries approximately 110 carcasses, weighing a total of about 42,000 pounds. The trailers typically are equipped with four rails, equally spaced, running down the center of the trailer. Carcasses hang in rows of four inside the truck. If a shipment is designated for an inspection, the carcasses are brought off the back of the truck when it arrives at the inspection facility. When the carcasses are brought out from the rear of the truck, this is called "railing out" the beef. The inspection station is built so that there is only room to "rail out" seven sides of beef. This means that, at most, I can only examine the seven carcasses from the rear of the truck. Under normal inspection conditions, I only look at four sides of beef.
I am supposed to conduct a product exam according to the randomly generated AIIS numbers. However, in practice, inspectors are told to look only at the carcasses at the rear of a load. Additionally, carcasses are not numbered/identified in any way, even though Mike Grasso claims they are randomly selected by a Canadian prior to loading the truck. Restricted as I am to the rear of the truck, it is impossible to tell anything about those carcasses in the front of the trucks.
Because Canadian shippers are aware of my limitations as an inspector, it stands to reason that they will place their cleanest, most heavily trimmed carcasses at the rear of the truck in hopes that the entire shipment will pass inspection. I continually see carcasses that are heavily spot-trimmed. This means that the Canadian packers are trimming off heavily contaminated areas of the carcasses in hope that they will pass inspection. Even with an inspection system heavily tilted in favor of the Canadians and the heavy spot-trimming that I am seeing, often the meat I inspect is so dirty that I must refuse entry of the product.
Violations of FSIS regulations continue to occur as a result of my instructions to ignore random sampling numbers. The Import Inspection Procedures Manual tells me to use the random sample numbers generated by the AIIS computer in the event that AI do not use the AIIS numbers, I am to use random numbers from another source (e.g., a telephone book), and I am supposed to record on Form 9530-1 that I have not used the AIIS numbers. After Mike Grasso’s instructions to ignore the random sample numbers, I began to record a statement to that effect on my inspection assignments. On April 9, 1993, Niles Nay instructed me to stop writing any statement to the effect that I was ignoring the random sample numbers instructions. I asked that Mr. Nay give this instruction to me in writing, but he refused. When I asked Mr. Nay if the instruction to stop recording the random sampling violations came from Washington, DC, he replied, "It may, or may not have." I am continuing to record on my inspection assignments that I have been instructed to ignore the random numbers.
By telling me not to record the fact that I am ignoring the random sampling numbers and/or not to use those numbers at all, I believe Mr. Nay, Mr. Manis and Mr. Grasso are attempting to cover up their violations of law, rules and regulations. On February 17, 1996, Grasso is quoted as saying that I have never provided any evidence that contaminated or tainted meat is making it into the U.S. Grasso repeated this allegation of "no proof" in Montana newspapers over the weekend of November 17. Those allegations are both ridiculous and simply not true. The object of meat inspection is to prevent and not wait until there is evidence that people died and people get seriously sick before we resume inspection! You only need to look at the deaths of children in the Jack-in-the-Box tragedy and the illnesses of hundreds more in the northwest to recognize the absurdity of this statement. The point is that millions of pounds of meat are being imported into the U.S. without being inspected. I have personally seen, at Sweetgrass, boxes of imported meat which have gone uninspected but certified as "USDA-inspected" to California to a known purveyor of ground beef to the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant chain. Therefore, it makes no sense to wait for the Next E. coli epidemic to occur before the USDA is required to comply with federal law and their own inspection procedures. To do what the USDA is now doing makes the law meaningless, useless and a cruel hoax on a public that trusts the stamp of approval of "U.S. Inspected & Passed" meat.
In the 1970s, the USDA allowed for the importation of ground meat, but only in packages that weighed three pounds or less. Effectively no one exported ground beef to the U.S. because it was much too expensive to do so in such small boxes.
In July 1992 Dr. H. Russel instituted a change in the Federal Meat Inspection Regulations. This new regulation allowed for the importation of meat in pieces smaller than 2 in diameter (e.g., ground beef) and at the same time eliminated the size restriction on the containers in which the ground meat could be packaged.
The FSIS/import Inspection Division currently restricts sampling for E. coli in ground beef to 10 pound units or less. There are no restrictions on the size of the meat pieces entering into the U.S. or on the size of the container in which the meat is imported. Canadian shippers are acutely aware of the current inspection limitations. As a result, they are now shipping ground beef in 1,500 pound combo boxes which I cannot effectively inspect or test for E. coli.
In my job as inspector, I am now seeing very dangerous conditions as a result of the new regulations on ground meat. It is impossible for me to detect defects such as bone fragments, hair, glass, blood clots, hide and fecal material in ground meat. In the wake of the Jack-in-Box tragedy, this new policy may be the most dangerous example of short-sighted management at USDA.
Because there is no way to protect the American consumer from defects of this kind of imported meat, the real health danger is that now there is nothing to stop a Canadian shipper (or one from any foreign country) from taking a shipment of meat that has been refused entry into the U.S., grinding the meat up, re-boxing it and then re-shipping it into the United States.
In any month approximately 26 million pounds of meat crosses the border at Sweetgrass. As such, approximately 312 million pounds enters each year. Under the current inspection procedures, the vast majority of the meat passes uninspected, yet is stamped officially "U.S. Inspected & Passed." The danger to the American consuming public cannot be overstated.
As a result of my efforts to uphold my oath to enforce the Federal Meat Inspection Act and supplemental USDA rules and regulations, my superiors at the USDA on September 9, 1996, gave me the following options: (1) transfer to a metropolitan area; (2) retire; or (3) be fired. On November 15, 1996, in writing, I refused all three of my superiors options. I remain on my job, nevertheless constrained and curtailed and impeded in my ability to perform the job I am entrusted to perform on behalf of the U.S. consumer. While I will continue to do my best under these circumstances, I urgently request the court to immediately grant the injunction this complaint seeks because I truly believe from all of my knowledge, all of my training and all of my 30 years of experience that not only public health, but indeed life, depends on the court stopping what is going on with this imported meat bypassing meaningful inspection -- inspection that is mandated by law and is not being done.
During a recent visit to Australia, a friend told me that he is going into debt to pay for private schooling for his children -- mainly to keep them away from the counter cultural brainwashing that goes on in the public schools there. Of course, the same things go on in the public schools here.
Recently a lawsuit was filed by parents against the Bedford Central School District in New York state, charging them with numerous examples of brainwashing, including some that have been emotionally damaging to the children.
Unlike plaintiffs in many other lawsuits these days, these parents do not ask for money but only for an injunction against such practices. According to the official complaint filed in the U.S. District Court, fourth- graders on an overnight school outing were taken to a children's cemetery at night and told to lie down on the graves to see if they fit, as well as other cemetery activities. If this seems far out to you, it does not to me, for my daughter was supposed to visit Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles as part of school exercises in "death Education" -- a nationwide movement with its own zealots, who typically do these things behind the backs of the parents.
The lawsuit in New York charges that there were assignments to write poems on the theme "How God Messed Up" and a whole curriculum on New Age occultism, as well as many older anti-religious, anti-patriotic, and other counter cultural assignments. Then there were the inevitable writing assignments in which the student is supposed to "reveal intimate details about himself and his family."
Again, this may seem strange to most people, who have no idea how widespread such things have been for years in the United States -- and before that in programs under the communists in China, where "brainwashing" originated.
The legal question is whether the school district overstepped the bounds. If so, the time is long overdue to go beyond wrist-slap penalties like injunctions and impose some multimillion-dollar punitive damages to get the attention of the authorities who treat children as guinea pigs for psychological experiments or permit counterculture zealots in the schools to do so. My research, my own personal experience, and letters from parents across the country all say the same thing: There is no talking to these people. Fad-ridden apostles of the latest trendy notions, secure in their job tenure and with their pay raises automatically coming with time served, do not have t listen to anybody -- unless there is going to be a real price to pay. Only after I hired a lawyer, who phoned the principal, did the school begin to lighten up on my daughter.
The larger social question is how we are going to get our schools to drop brainwashing from the curriculum and get back to teaching academic subjects. Dealing with these things case-by-case is like running a lawnmower over crab grass, it gives only the most temporary relief.
Some landmark court decisions, with hefty punitive damages, can let the education establishment know that the party is over. But that is only one way, and by no means a reliable one, given how many judges there are with a soft spot in their hearts for the counterculture.
Some parents are making financial sacrifices to protect their children from the psychological child molesters in the public schools by sending them to private schools, though even these must be investigated first to make sure that they are not allowing the classroom propaganda ministers on their staff to run amok.
Other parents are making the even more heroic sacrifice of schooling their children at home which can mean giving up one parent's income. Fortunately there are now home-schooling educational materials and organizations that help with both the educational problems and the legal problems growing out of the public schools harassment of parents who are taking away children who represent hard cash from the government, as well as a captive audience to brainwash.
It is outrageous that millions of children and their parents must carry such burdens. The people who should be paying a price are those who are creating this problem. But that will not happen so long as teachers unions, tenure and a public school monopoly continue to exist.
The whole burden should not be left on individual parents to fight an entrenched education establishment. All of us should support school choice programs, including vouchers, and realize that tenure is one of the tragic mistakes of American education
The Washington Times, January 15, 1997