THE U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court's ruling that Five Star Custom Foods Ltd. must pay General Mills Inc. $1.6 million for damages and attorneys' fees because Five Star procured beef from Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. and sold it to General Mills.
The circuit said the lower court was correct in agreeing with General Mills' position that the beef, in the form of meatballs, was non-food grade because it was associated with Westland.
The circuit said Five Star had breached its contract with General Mills that required the meatballs to be of food-grade quality.
Westland was the subject of an undercover video made by an "investigator" for The Humane Society of the United States that depicted egregious animal handling practices, including prodding or shocking non-ambulatory cows to get on their feet to pass inspection before slaughter (Feedstuffs, Feb. 4, 2008).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the actions meant that the meat was suspected of being "unfit for human consumption."
The meatballs were used in the manufacture of Progresso soups.