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Slaughterhouse that recalled tons of beef processed cancerous cattle

By Ricardo Lopez / Los Angeles Times

LAST UPDATED: 07:30 a.m. HST, Mar 06, 2014

Rancho Feeding Corp., the Bay Area slaughterhouse that recalled nearly 9 million pounds of beef products last month, sold meat that came from cows with cancer, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

In a Jan. 14 suspension letter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said that an investigation of Rancho Feeding Corp. showed the company sold cattle "likely affected with epithelioma of the eye."

Regulators said they found two cattle heads that had made it to market intact and with "skin still attached, and had no incisions for the four pair of lymph nodes on the head, which normally are incised for inspection."

The cattle heads did not have the USDA's mark of condemnation, which would prevent them from being sold, the letter said.

Rancho Feeding is at the center of a massive recall involving thousands of retail chains, including Kroger, Food 4 Less and Wal-Mart, for processing and selling "diseased and unsound animals" without a full federal inspection, the FSIS said.

It has led to voluntary recall by Nestle of its Philly Steak and Cheese flavored Hot Pockets after it discovered a supplier had bought meat from Rancho Feeding.

There are no reported illnesses linked to the company's meat, but the business is being probed for criminal wrongdoing by the USDA's inspector general.

The Petaluma, Calif., company has been in regulators' crosshairs since early January, when it initially recalled nearly 42,000 pounds of beef. That recall was expanded Feb. 8 to include 8.7 million pounds of beef products shipped to distribution centers and retailers in six states including California, Oregon and Texas.

Calls to Rancho Feeding seeking comment Wednesday went unanswered. An e-mail seeking comment from the USDA was not immediately returned either.

Rancho Feeding, the last slaughterhouse in the Bay Area, was recently bought by an artisanal Marin County farm specializing in pasture-raised livestock.

Marin Sun Farms in Point Reyes Station, which is located along a national seashore 40 miles north of San Francisco, has submitted a request to take over Rancho Feeding's operations, federal inspectors said late last month.

Regulators said they are reviewing Marin Sun Farms' application to "ensure the firm meets requirements."

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Solara wrote:
Someone's head is gonna roll...
on March 5,2014 | 03:45PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
They do everything on a much bigger scale on the mainland, so the inconvenience of 60 hours wasted per year is worth it, if we do not get any of the type of meat that that company sent out. Lucky We Live Hawaii. We don't have The Golden State Warriors, however we have Maui No Ka Oi, Na Leo, and tutu (no not the train, DaCAB, promoted by Frank).
on March 5,2014 | 03:58PM
richierich wrote:
The owners of that slaughterhouse should be publicly beaten and force-fed a plate full of cancerous beef.
on March 5,2014 | 05:24PM
klastri wrote:
This makes being a vegetarian look like a great decision!
on March 5,2014 | 06:53PM
environmental_lady wrote:
You said it. Even better - become a vegan. I'm glad I never ate meat in my life thanks to my parents. I wouldn't even want to taste it, let alone swallow it.
on March 5,2014 | 08:12PM
richierich wrote:
You're really missing out.
on March 5,2014 | 09:48PM
2NDC wrote:
Not that I'm condoning the sale of the diseased meat, as I'm sure there's a reason that the practice is prohibited, however I do wonder what the risks are to humans consuming meat from cattle that had cancer. It's not like cancer is transmitted by eating it.
on March 5,2014 | 08:13PM
HD36 wrote:
That's a good point. What if the cattle had diabetes, artheriosclerosis, or arthritis? The price of beef is already set to skyrocket because of the drought in CA, inflation because of the Fed's QE, and now this.
on March 5,2014 | 08:55PM
SueH wrote:
Well isn't that special?? And we're worried about a few GMO papayas. What a sense of priority.
on March 5,2014 | 08:53PM
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