In the wake of an investigation into Central Valley Meat’s animal handling practices, the federal government and several of the company’s customers have severed ties with the slaughterhouse. McDonald’s, Costco and In-and-Out have suspended meat purchases from the company.

The suspensions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the fast-food chain came after an animal welfare group's video shot at a slaughterhouse operated by Central Valley Meat Co. showed cows that appeared to be sick or lame being beaten, kicked, shot and shocked in an attempt to get them to walk to slaughter.

"There are behaviors in the video which appear to be unacceptable and would not adhere to the standards we demand of our suppliers," McDonald's said in release.

Previously, the USDA had bought 21 million pounds of beef from the company in 2011 for the national school lunch program and other federal food programs.

Central Valley Meat Co. has referred all questions to a public relations firm that issued a statement saying Central Valley Meat is cooperating with investigators and developing a plan to remedy any potential violations of USDA guidelines.

"Based on our own investigation and 30 years of producing safe, high-quality US beef, we are confident these concerns pose no food safety issues," the statement said.

Source: Associated Press