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USDA shuts Vermont meat facility

RUTLAND, Vt. -- Federal authorities closed down Vermont's largest slaughterhouse this month, because of a spate of food safety violations, officials said.

Fresh Farms Beef Inc. suspended operations this month. No one directly involved would explain the company's alleged violations.

''The facility received a notice of suspension Dec. 17 from our agency because of multiple violations in their food safety systems, which led the agency to be concerned about adulterated product possibly reaching consumers," said Amanda Eamich, a spokeswoman for the Food Safety Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture.

Eamich said USDA officials are working with Fresh Farms to correct the violations so the slaughterhouse could reopen.

Fresh Farms Beef owner Nick Greeno said that in nine years he had never been shut down.

''We are doing everything in our power to comply with what they want," he said.

The Food Safety Inspection Service handles inspections of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Because Fresh Farms Beef ships some of its meat out of state, the slaughterhouse falls under federal jurisdiction.

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