Coelho said the allegations "are both disturbing and surprising" because the plant is "under continuous inspection by USDA Food Safety and Inspection personnel who are empowered to take immediate action when they observe a problem."
A Central Valley Meat spokesman said the company "is working closely with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service to address animal-handling concerns arising from a covert video supplied to USDA by an animal rights group. Central Valley Meat takes these issues very seriously and is now developing a plan of action to present to FSIS to remedy any potential violations of USDA guidelines. Based on our own investigation and 30 years of producing safe, high-quality U.S. beef, we are confident these concerns pose no food safety issues. We take these allegations very seriously and will immediately address any concerns the USDA may have."
The animal rights group said the failure of on-site federal inspectors was its own red flag.
"These abuses inside slaughter houses across the country are often happening right under the nose of government inspectors," said Meier of Compassion Over Killing.