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Appeals Panel Grills Lawyers in USDA Appeal of Supreme Beef Decision

Monday, October 1, 2001

AMI officials today attended oral arguments heard by a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit regarding the USDA appeal in the Supreme Beef litigation. The panel repeatedly interrupted the prepared presentations of attorneys for both sides, asking numerous pointed questions. The court voiced skepticism about the validity of Salmonella as an indicator of sanitation. Other questions asked related to the agency's statutory authority for taking action and the impact of the company's bankruptcy on the litigation. In the spring of 2000, a U.S. District Court judge enjoined USDA from withholding inspection at the Supreme Beef grinding facility because it allegedly failed a USDA Salmonella performance standard. USDA subsequently appealed the injunction, leading to today's oral argument. The appeals court likely will rule in the next few months.

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