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Petaluma company recalls 8.7 million pounds of meat (w/video)

  • Rancho Feeding Corp.'s slaughterhouse in Petaluma. (PD FILE, 2004)

The Petaluma-based company Rancho Feeding Corp. is recalling about 8.7 million pounds of meat because it may have processed “diseased and unsound animals” without a full federal inspection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement Saturday. It is the second recall at the facility in less than a month.

Because the meat, produced between Jan. 1 of 2013 and Jan. 7 of 2014, did not receive a full inspection, it is not fit for human consumption, the Inspection Service said, adding that the products were shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

This latest recall is far more massive at the facility, which is the only USDA-inspected animal processing facility in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake and Mendocino counties, with the exception of a small plant for sheep and goats near Occidental. The first recall, in mid-January, involved 41,683 pounds of meat that the USDA said did not receive a full inspection.

Calls to the plant, co-owned by Jesse “Babe” Amaral and Robert Singleton, were not answered Sunday, nor could the plant's quality control manager, Scott Parks, be reached for comment.

After the first recall, the plant closed for some weeks, said local dairy rancher and former president of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau board of directors, Doug Beretta. Beretta sits on the Farm Bureau board and said the plant's closure impacted some local ranchers, who were forced to truck their cattle about 2 1/2 hours away to slaughterhouses in Los Banos and Modesto.

To date, there have been no reported cases of illness from eating the meat.

Tim Tesconi, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, called that fact a good sign and said he was surprised to hear about the scale of this recall.

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