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Carl Laurel Telleen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 21/7/74

Scope and Content

This collection (1979-1986, undated) includes correspondence, news clippings, speeches, transcripts, and writings. Correspondents include Iowa Congressman Charles Grassley, USDA administrator Donald E. Houston, and Colorado Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder. Of special note is a "Petition for Review of Agency Implementation" filed on Telleen's behalf by the Government Accountability Project and various affidavits in support of Telleen.


  • 1979-1986, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Carl Laurel Telleen, born February 13, 1914, received his B.S. (1937) and his D.V.M. (1939) from Iowa State College (University). He practiced as a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian in Gowrie, Iowa, for 21 years.

In 1960 he took a job as a meat inspector for the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA. While working as an inspector in Kansas in the 1970s, he became concerned about newly implemented USDA regulations on meat packing plants. He expressed his concerns about the safety of meat to his supervisors. When his concerns were dismissed, Telleen began a letter writing campaign to inform policymakers about the situation. He was reprimanded by his superiors and transferred to Washington, D.C., where he continued his campaign to change the meat inspection practices of the USDA.

Telleen continued to write letters, give lectures, conduct research, and seek support for his cause. In July 1984, he wrote an article on meat inspection for the Des Moines Register and was reprimanded shortly thereafter. In response to the reprimand, Telleen filed a petition in district court against the USDA. He charged that the USDA was violating the 1906 Meat Inspection Act and his right to free speech. He was backed by the Government Accountability Project, a non-profit organization, and an investigation of the Food Safety and Inspection Service was ordered in 1985. Telleen passed away at the age of 88 on December 14, 2002.


0.84 Linear Feet (2 document boxes)


Carl L. Telleen received his B.S. (1937) and his D.V.M. (1939) from Iowa State College (University). Telleen became a meat inspector for the Food Safety Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and developed a concern with regulations in the meat industry allowing contaminated produce to pass with sold product. Telleen advocated for better safety in the meat industry and fought with the USDA for such. This collection includes correspondence, news clippings, speeches, transcripts, and writings by Telleen documenting his fight for stronger USDA regulations of the meat packing industry.


The collection is organized in its donated order.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/74. Carl Laurel Telleen papers, 1979-1986, undated
January 15, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672