House panel hears inspector decry meat rule lapses

WASHINGTON Federal meat inspectors, who were blamed in part for the 143-million-pound beef recall from a processor that slaughtered potentially diseased “downer” cattle, are so understaffed that some are responsible for up to 24 plants in regions too big to permit required inspections, lawmakers learned this month.

Three-fourths of surveyed U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors indicated that the geographical expanse of their territories was such that they

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