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What's the deal with cheap meat for sale from truck?

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 5, 2018 at 4:29 PM EDT
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"I mean, it looks like real meat and it's frozen, so what more can I say," Joyce McNight said.

McNight has seen the massive "20 rib-eyes for 30 dollars" banner on a truck in the University Mall parking lot for a couple of weeks.

"Rib-eyes $30 makes you wonder, so we thought we'd check it out," she said.

McNight says she got a deal, walking out with boxes of various cuts of meat.

"New York strips, filets, T-Bones, Delmonico, a really nice family pack case of steaks," Carroll Gatlin said.

Gatlin filled out the permits with the city and the University Mall to be parked in South Burlington. The business is listed as Star Steaks with the state and Star South Steak Company with the city. Gatlin is listed as the owner.

Reporter Dom Amato: People may be a little wary because the price is a little cheap. What's the message?

Carroll Gatlin: The steaks is about 4 ounces, they're awesome steaks, they're vacuum sealed... Beautiful, beautiful steaks, very, very tasty, good steaks. We have literally hundreds of customers in this market that's crazy about them.

Gatlin didn't answer the question but he did say the meat comes from the U.S. Stock Yards in Illinois. Their website boasts it's the "world's finest steaks and chops."

"Any meat products that are inspected and passed have to go through a very specific channel but the source of those products can come from anywhere," said Dr. Kristin Haas, the state veterinarian and director of food safety and consumer protection.

Haas says an inspector from the Agency of Agriculture did check out the tent and truck in June, making sure the business is licensed with the agency, that they have proper food handling and storage procedures, and that the meat passes inspection by either the state or the USDA. The state did not inspect this meat.

"Our piece is to make sure that once they are doing business in Vermont that they are meeting all of those requirements," Haas explained.

But they don't know where the meat really comes from.

"That's not part of our regulatory framework, so we don't know," Haas said.

Haas wants customers to be sure to do their shopping at the U-Mall before buying steaks so they don't thaw in the car. McNight bought her steaks and can't wait to share them with family members.

"Enough food to pass out to my parents and my kids," she said.

Did you buy any meat in the University Mall parking lot? Our Dom Amato wants to hear how they were. Email him at amato@wcax.com or call him at 802-652-6368.