The USDA is expected to approve a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico within the next two months, according to a New York Times report. If approval is granted, it would mark the first time since 2007that horse meat suitable for human consumption was produced in the country.
The plant, in Roswell, N.M., is owned by Valley Meat Co., which sued the USDA in the fall over the lack of inspection services for horses going to slaughter. Horse meat cannot be processed for human consumption in the United States without inspection by the USDA, so horses destined for that purpose have been shipped to places such as Mexico and Canada for slaughter.
A ban on horse processing in the United States lapsed in 2011, but the USDA has not yet made an attempt to restart its inspection services for horse slaughter. Valley Meat files a lawsuit, stating that failure to offer inspection of horse meat violated the Federal Meat Inspection Act. A USDA spokesman said that the Obama Administration is calling on Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter.
Currently, many retailers and food processors in Europe, including Tesco, Nestle and Ikea, have recalled beef products after DNA testing identified that the meat also included horse meat.
Sources: New York Times, Boston Globe