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June 26, 2009

BREAKING! Bridgewater Quality Meats, Producer Of Solomon's Glatt Kosher Lets Tons Of Meat Rot In Bridgewater – Stench Filled City, Building May Be Condemned

Solomons_kosher_meat [Newly Updated 6-30-09] Could it have fed thousands of hungry people?

Solomon's Cleanup

Bridgewater city councilman Phil Heiberger removes wooden pallets Wednesday from the Bridgewater Quality Meats facility. Meat may have been rotting at the abandoned meat plant for the past six months, according to authorities who cleaned up the stinking, maggot-infested mess this week. (Laura Wehde/Republic Photo

Tons of meat rotted for months in Bridgewater

By: Liz Bos, The Daily Republic

BRIDGEWATER — Meat may have been rotting in an abandoned Bridgewater meat plant for the past six months, according to authorities who cleaned up the stinking, maggot-infested mess this week.

Bridgewater Quality Meats’ power was shut off in December 2008, authorities said. Tuesday, after residents had recently begun noticing a smell emanating from the facility, authorities discovered and removed 44 tons of meat. Wednesday, the cleanup was still ongoing.

“It was absolute disbelief that somebody would let that much meat go bad,” McCook County Emergency Manager Brad Stiefvater said. “That’s high dol- lars. There’s a lot of value there. I don’t understand it.”

The meat, which was apparently left behind by owner Ilan Parente after he relocated his business to Minnesota, sat in coolers at the plant until Bridgewater locals began noticing a rotting smell two weeks ago. Bridgewater City Councilman Bob Anderson said that initial attempts to contact Parente were unsuccessful until the city’s attorney got involved. Parente then sent two employees to clean up the mess, but after it became clear progress wasn’t being made, the city stepped in.

“It’s too bad (the meat) had to go to waste when there’s so many people that could have used it,” Anderson said.

People in Bridgewater don’t know why Parente abandoned the meat, but some suspect he might have done it intentionally as payback for past run-ins with authorities.

“I couldn’t believe anybody would deliberately leave a mess like that,” said Ed Meyer, a volunteer on the cleanup crew. “So here I am, just as a city volunteer, no pay, and the owner is sitting where, in his air-conditioned office?”

According to Stiefvater, Bridgewater Quality Meats closed early last year. It was reported that Parente moved his business to a facility in Dawson, Minn. Parente had several run-ins with authorities prior to that, including in 2004 when his company was sued by the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources for environmental violations.

Stiefvater does not yet know what the total cost for the cleanup will be but said it has involved “quite a few community resources.”

“No doubt we will try to recoup that from the owner,” Stiefvater said.

The cleanup crew, comprised of 20 volunteers from Bridgewater, including the mayor and several city council members, was on the job from noon Tuesday to midnight Wednesday morning. Some additional work was required Wednesday to bleach and wash out the coolers where the meat was kept, and to dispose of trash from the building, which Stiefvater estimated would take most of the day.

Stiefvater said the volunteers had to wear rebreathers to protect them against gas and bacteria from the rotting meat. There was also a danger that Freon leaks in the building might combine with bleach in the disinfection solution to produce dangerous fumes.

Locals don’t know how long the meat was in the building — only that the power was shut off in December, and that any meat in the building since then has probably been rotting.

“Nobody in that town had any idea there was that much meat in there,” Stiefvater said.

Bridgewater Mayor Marty Barattini said he is not sure if the building will be usable after the cleanup, due to the extent of the damage and contamination. The city plans to thoroughly disinfect the inside and outside of the building and evaluate the property once the cleanup is finished. Barattini also said that he is very appreciative of all the effort from community members helping with the cleanup.

“The thing I think about the most is with the amount of meat that was left in that building, why that meat was left to rot as opposed to taken to the Banquet or one of the missions to feed the poor,” Barattini said. “I believe there was enough meat in that building to feed the homeless of Sioux Falls for a year.


”Here is my guess on what happened. The meat is probably not kosher and Parente had no one to sell it to. Either he did not try to give it away to a food bank or no food bank could handle what are probably sides of beef. And then the meat was left to rot.

It is inexcusable, to be sure. But it might not be as callous as it appears on first blush.

UPDATE 6-30-09 8 pm CDT – I interviewed Ilan Parante tonight and spoke with Bridgewater's attorney this afternoon. I'll post more about this later tonight or perhaps Wednesday.

Parente told me the meat was offal – organ meats, tails, etc, and none of it was kosher. All of it would have been sold for pet food.

He also says he sent employees to restart the electricity and deal with the meat in May, but a sheet of ice caused by dripping from the ceiling of the cooler made it impossible to get to the boxes then. He told me, however, that his company failed to deal with the problem in a timely manner.

He also noted – as did Bridgewater's attorney – that a portion of the matter disposed was cardboard boxes meant for recycling and plastic, and that the meat was significantly less than the total tonnage. 

He also told me his animals – while hormone and antibiotic free – are finished for a minimum of 180 days on feedlots, making part of my comment posted below inaccurate.

More on this soon.

UPDATE 7-2-09 2:30 pm – My interview with Ilan Parente.

[Hat Tip: Yophat.]

Comments

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You should follow up on it in greater detail...I would bet a nickel to a dollar the trend continues at the current operations!

Of course the proper thing would have been to give it out to the poor and hungry. At least they did not try to sell it as "kosher".

The proper thing would have been to sell it before it goes bad and pay their bills.

It isn't possible to sell it.

Solomon's sells mostly grass fed beef, bison, etc. The quality in terms of taste and texture is not high enough to easily sell to restaurants and grocery stores in the non-kosher market.

Rubashkin had this problem as well, but for other reasons related to the inverted slaughter.

That's why he started doing the "second cut" throat ripping.

People here are paying $7-$25 a pound (depending on the cut) for ASH (antibiotic, steroid & hormone) free grass fed beef and bison. Grass fed beef tastes way better than factory farmed beef, I can assure you. I can't imagine why they couldn't sell it if they had taken the time to cut it into reasonable sized pieces. No doubt he was just too cheap to pay workers to cut up the stuff so it could be sold or donated, as someone else mentioned. Even if it wasn't kosher they could at least have given it to the poor and taken a tax write-off. This guy is just a slimeball, it seems.

According to the articles the meat was packaged so it was ready for sale. No matter whether it was Kosher or Non Kosher the meat could have been sold for hamburger or something of that nature.

Worst case scenario you sell it to a renderer for 10 cents a pound.

What you don't do is leave it for six months to rot....and for the city to clean up.

According to the articles the meat was packaged so it was ready for sale.

I can't find that statement in the articles.

The 70,000 pounds of unrefrigerated buffalo meat was so spoiled that it liquefied and then literally burst out of its packaging.
http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6371.cfm?Id=86392

grass-fed is also a healthier meat with a higher DHA content.

the city should just condemn the property, auction it off, and use the proceeds to finance the cleanup.

The 70,000 pounds of unrefrigerated buffalo meat was so spoiled that it liquefied and then literally burst out of its packaging.
http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6371.cfm?Id=86392

That doesn't mean retail packaging.

Large pieces of meat are vacuum packed and boxed for storage and shipment and are cut into retail pieces later.

Forest Gump sayings come to mind...

but one has to really wonder what Ilan Parente was thinking...

brand damage, public relations damage, lost goodwill, vendors, investors, customers, etc etc etc

not to mention if he has a dime you can rest assured the city will come after him for it.

It could have been sold as dog food (before the electricity was cut) so I don't see why the company would abandon the meat. That is easy money and no one leaves easy money on the table.

There must be more to the story. Obviously government officials were needling the company prior to this. What exactly was the issue the government was looking into before they left? That point was not clear.

The wastefulness that people in this country practice is obscene. I do not believe any other poplulation engages in waste and excess of the unspeakable proportions that Americans do. It is not difficult to understand why the "animal rights wackos" are making such inroads, as well they should.
We are sitting on a time bomb. It won't be much longer before anti-semitism gives us new breaking news for real.

That Smell (apologies to Lynard Skynard):

Vodka bottles, and Mountain Dew
Grand Jury, you're in my way
There's too much graft and too much crap
Look what's going on in your neshomeh

Chorus
Ooooy that smell
Can't you smell that smell
Ooooy that smell
The smell of chillul Hashem surrounds you

Malach Hamavet is upon you
Strap tefillin on your arm
So take some rotten meat, for a Solomon's feast
One more Dew, fool, will drown you
chorus

Now they call you Reb Alarming
Can't speak a Vort when you're full of idols
Say you'll be all right, Rebbe comes tonight
But tonight might not be here for Feivel
chorus

Hey, you're a hypocrite
Strap that tefillin on your arm
I know I been there before

One little problem that confronts you
Got a Tanya in your sack
Just one more look, Lord might do the book
One hell of a price to pay in the shuk.

chorus 2x

(Note: I know this is not a Rubashkin's company, so I used poetic license).

It could have been sold as dog food (before the electricity was cut) so I don't see why the company would abandon the meat. That is easy money and no one leaves easy money on the table.

There must be more to the story. Obviously government officials were needling the company prior to this. What exactly was the issue the government was looking into before they left? That point was not clear.

A renderer cooks the spoiled meat down into dog food or other such items. Like you said it doesn't make sense...

Based on my google searches...seems there were some issues with the city over water contamination levels with water (sewage) leaving the plant...

"Don and Deloris Letcher said that since Bridgewater Quality Meats opened in February 1999, blood from the plant runs into their yard and once backed up into their basement." Lovely. Oh, and "Bridgewater Quality Meats opened on Main Avenue five years ago and within a year was warned about its procedures. The attorney general sued the plant last October on behalf of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with potential fines of $10,000 a day." Really? Yes: "A May 2000 memo from Paula Huizenga, an engineer with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the plant's discharge overloaded the city's wastewater lagoons, made them septic, turned wastewater pink and caused odor.

"Blood in Basement"...last post
http://soyjoy.blogspot.com/2004_04_25_archive.html

http://www.state.sd.us/bfm/budget/Rec09/Approved_20.pdf

Ilan and his brother Tal started the new operation in Dawson MN under the Noah's Ark Processors name in Feb 2008. Appears that they continued to pay the bills at Bridgewater until December 2008. The operation in Dawson appears to still be going...

http://www.auri.org/news/ainjan09/PDF%20of%20Jan09%20AIN.pdf

3/2 Yid:

This has nothing to do with the "wastral" ways of Americans, and everything to do with one shmuck who'd cut off his nose to spite his face.

Economically, his actions make absolutely no sense.

KDLT-TV also covered the story, and it got picked up by a lot of TV stations. Don't read it if you are about to eat:

http://www.kdlt.com/news/0624n1.html

Note that this story states the power was turned off "over a month ago". 88,000 pounds of meat were left in the old plant, and the cost to the city pf Bridgewater was nearly $62,000 in legal and cleaning bills.

Here is the news library on Bridgewater...you have to pay for the individual articles but from the excerpts you can see the history of waste disposal problems going back...

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives

as 3/2 Yid noted....for such a shmuck to do this...one really has to wonder about their current operations...

a phone call to the Dawson City Office could probably answer quite a few questions...

This is just too gross beyond words; for the people all that meat could have fed and for the city workers that got stuck cleaning it up. Another post questioned possible gov't involvement... if there indeed was some kind of investigation going on, the owner may have been restricted from selling it or giving it away. These things can go on for years and that's a lot of meat to pay cold storage on when you might not see any return. What he did was wrong but it sounds like there's blame enough to spread around if you add bureaucractic bull to the mix. Is it possible proper USDA inspection was being questioned? Possible contamination? That might be another explanation.

The government investigation was into Bridgewater Quality Meats dumping extensive amounts of waste into the sewage system...I've already posted links

USDA inspection is pretty much worthless...research the history of any of the large operating meat plants

Again the plant had been shut down for over a year....meaning no USDA inspectors

I know the Parente family personally. I have not discused this matter with them nor will I as i respect them greatly. They are incredibly honest and good people. There has to be far more to this story than is writen here.

"There has to be far more to this story than is writen here."

What strikes me is that none of the stories mention if the writer of the story tried to contact Solomon's. They do have a web site. Also not fully discussed is if this community's HAZMAT team is all volunteer, and if they were the ones who remediated the hazard. I can't see a city allowing anyone without HAZMAT training into a facility that is a public health hazard.

Rendering Plants

I once called on a rendering plant to maintain their analysis machine (detects PCBs DDT the usual nasties)
Anyway there are different streams of product that they put out. For chicken feed, where it can get put eventually back into the food chain the raw product has to be of a good quality, so WE don't end up getting poisoned. For real crap like downer cows that die of mysterious origins and maybe slightly contaminated stuff-pet food, as WE are not likely to consume our doggies and cats. PLUS the rendering truck will come up and pick up the dead cow, pig etc. Had a problem once where they ground up the cow including the anti-flea strip that is stapled to the ears (lots of chemical nasties) Now they cut the ears off and give the ears back to the farmer.
There have been additional regulations where it is forbidden to grind (for
instance) cows for cow feed etc.

Herr "Final E" Apikoros, I have nothing but appreciation for someone who reads my humble posts and elects to comment upon them. Whence such dedication comes I won't hazard a guess, however, I think we both have demonstrated that further dialogue between us is quite unproductive and absurd. I will leave it to others to engage with you if they are so inclined. I rather think they will not be so inclined,however.

Isa, good points.
I think that's how Mad Cow Disease was spread. Cows with the virus in their brains were ground up and used as feed for other cows. Those cows would eat the virus-containing mush, and so the virus was spread.

I also share FGBA's concerns about the HAZMAT personnel in that town. Here in NJ, HAZMAT crews are state employed and trained. It's not just a task where you ask for volunteers and give them a talk on what needs to be done.
Even the firefighters pictured are wearing tee shirts and jeans with their boots and breathing apparatus, and don't seem adequately protected.
The protective suits and headgear that HAZMAT workers must wear for such cleanup tasks each costs hundreds of dollars, and it's all disposable.

WSC: Bridgewater is a small town. Doubt they have access to fulltime HAZMAT personnel so the work is done by volunteers, including volunteer fire personnel. They may not be well trained or their training may be limited to chemical spills.

But it might not be as callous as it appears on first blush.

I couldn't disagree more.

3/2:

I'll be a little less charitable. You're a putz.

WoolSilkCotton,
Mad Cow disease was prion-based, meaning unlike viruses it can not be killed. The other cows caught it by eating the remains of cows that had it, ad infinitum.

Jerome

"Economically, his actions make absolutely no sense."

In the grand scheme of things, Rubashkins actions don't make any sense either. He could have paid his workers as if they were unionized autoworkers and come out ahead, for all the money being spent on lawyers.

Even to this dy, fighting things makes no economic sense either, but that is not stopping them.

About Mad Cow comment per above.

My customer was telling about Mad Cow before it got 'famous' and was telling me that the Univ of Iowa came out investigated and determined it CANNOT get killed using the temperatures used in the rendering process.(Only temperatures that are high enough to take the temper out of metal)
The idiots in England did NOT realize this. My idea is... prions are concentrated in the brains. In England, cow brains are turned into hamburger.. sheer deadly poison!!! Some English minister of Agriculture held a news conference to declare the English meat industry safe and was going to show his daughter eat a hamburger and she REFUSED!

Yeah, you have to heat the meat hot enough to alter the molecular structure, which is far above the boiling point of water.

As Isa says: Don't eat brains or spinal cord tissue. Ever. Don't feed it to your pets, either. Other sweetbreads are probably OK.

A reliable source just told me that at one point Agri was shipping tons of meat out of state to cold storage. When stacking in the storage facility, none of it was rotated with older product, thus some of the meat there was up to 10 years old! A shipment of this old meat was sent to a grocery chain in Florida who promptly sent it back demanding fresh product. The same meat was then RELABLED with a current expiration date. I don't know if all the meat in storage came from Agri or if it was a distribution center for this particular grocery store warehousing several brands, but the meat in question was supposedly kosher. Believe it or not!

I spoke with a retailer last week who told me last year he was offered undated Rubashkin beef. He refused to buy them.

Another retailer he knows got the same offer and saw actual labels on the cases – 8 years old!

Isa, i think once you get the sick cows out of the system and stop feeding offal to livestock, it should be safe to eat cow brains again. unless there is a genetic mutation causing malformed prion proteins to form, then it should be a simple matter of keeping these herbivores herbivorous.

not that i will be eating brains intentionally... anyway, i could have sworn they took brains and spinal tissue out of the food supply now.

Prions are not necessarily genetic however some prion related disease can be hereditary -e.g. fatal familial insomnia.

Prions are thought to be porteins that have their fourth order structure folded in an abnormal but stable configuration not otherwise seen in nature.

These proteins have the ability to cause normally folded proteins to fold in this abnormal fashion propogating abnormal tissue that is deadly to brain and other CNS neurons. This is something like Vonnegut's "ice 9" in which one crystal of abnormal water converts all the normal water in the world to its abnormal state.

These prions wreak havoc with normal central nervous system function and cause a so-called spongioform encephalopathy (SE) due to the loss of neurons and the appearance of holes in the brain like holes in a sponge. I have cared for several patients with Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease, a human form of SE.

In any case JUST SAY NO to eating brains and spinal cords.

Dr. Dave,

I believe that's how Kuru was spread among cannibals.

So what should I do with this nice juicy brain 'n cord sandwich on rye I picked up at 2nd Avenue Deli? :)

From what I read on the subject, the prions can be rendered harmless by cooking them to a temperature of 130 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes, which is about 260 degrees Fahrenheit. This does NOT mean putting them in the oven for that period of time, it means the temperature of the coolest part of the meat must be at least that. Of course, it would also render the meat totally inedible.

These altered prions are not living things. They are poisons.

Shmarya- "Another retailer...labels on the cases – 8 years old!"
Really gets one thinking how much of this goes on in the non-kosher world too! Yech!!
Over the years I've also heard rumors about "caves" filled with gov't commodities just sitting there waiting for some crisis to prompt distribution again like in the 80's.(cheese, dry milk, butter, etc..) Wouldn't these supposedly historic economic times qualify?

Still waiting for further updates....

Here is the latest article and an interview with Ilan...

http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/34614/group/home/

Is Ilan telling the truth? Why would he leave meat in a plant that he quit utilizing by February 2008 (when he moved over to the Dawson plant under a new business name)? Why would he not sell it or render it at that time? Why wait till the city has to haul it out in June 2009? How long was he going to wait?

Renders pay money...be it 10 cents a pound or something of that nature....why would he not move the meat and get the cash?

Also why not take care of it when the power is getting turned off (i.e. he quit paying the power bill - Dec 2008) rather than leave it for later when he knows a problem could develop?

Also this is but one incident in a trend of problems concerning his lack of stewardship and citizenship over the past several years.

I'd bet a nickel to a dollar the trend continues at Noah's Ark in Dawson. I googled it and the only waste disposal company in the area is Olson Sanitation...

http://www.topix.com/yp/dawson-mn/5782588087-olson-sanitation-llc

http://us.loadedweb.com/cities/minnesota/dawson/directory/garbage-collection/

A simple phone call to Olson Sanitation would confirm whether they had dumped large quantities of meat in Dawson...

I did a long interview with Ilan a couple days ago.

The situation is much more complex than you realize.

Do enlighten me...

I've added more opinion on the situation and the latest article at my respective blog post...
http://yophat.blogspot.com/2009/06/is-kosher-really-kosher.html

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