Four people who worked at a Petaluma, Calif., slaughterhouse that triggered last winter’s giant beef recall were indicted Monday by a federal grand jury on suspicion of killing diseased cows while inspectors were out to lunch and then distributing the meat.

Rancho Feeding Corp. was shut down in February after the wide-ranging recall, which included meat sold in the United States and Canada and affected more than 1,600 distributors, including Walmart, as well as products like Hot Pockets frozen foods.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press brought word of the indictment (via NBC Bay Area):

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said Rancho processed diseased and unhealthy animals and circumvented federal inspection rules.

Slaughterhouse co-owners Jesse Amaral Jr. and Robert Singleton of Petaluma and employees Eugene Corda of Petaluma and Felix Cabrera of Santa Rosa were charged with distribution of adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat.

Prosecutors said Cabrera and Corda were involved in the slaughter of cows with skin cancer of the eye at Amaral and Singleton’s instructions. They are accused of then concealing the diseased heads by swapping them with healthy cow heads.

Cabrera, based on instructions from Amaral, also directed Rancho employees to carve stamps condemning cattle out of carcasses and to process them for transport and sale, prosecutors said. The indictment accused the company of distributing 179 diseased cattle.

If the four men are convicted, they face up to five years in prison for distributing the contaminated meat and up to 20 years for sending out fraudulent invoices to cover their tracks.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman

Related video

Below is a report by RT about the Rancho Feeding Corp. slaughterhouse:

Here is NBC Bay Area’s story about Monday’s indictment:


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