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Nearly 9 million pounds of beef recalled by Northern California firm

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Details of where nearly 9 million pounds of beef products recalled Saturday by a Northern California slaughtering plant were sold were scarce Monday, but a preliminary list of retailers shows that many were Latino meat markets.

Rancho Feeding Corp. of Petaluma on Saturday announced a recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef products processed at its plant over the last year and sold in California and three other states. They included whole carcasses, beef tongue, head, tripe and oxtail — cuts of meat widely used in Latino cuisine.

Federal regulators said that the plant "processed diseased and unsound animals" without a full federal inspection. As a result, the agency said, the "products are ... unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce."

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service declined to comment or offer more details about how a year's worth of beef produced at the plant ended up being sold to retailers and distribution centers.

There have been no reported illnesses linked to the beef products in question, the company and the USDA said.

The plant's quality control manager offered few details Monday about how the beef made it to market without a full federal inspection.

The company has voluntarily closed the facility as the recall continues and it compiles a full list of customers to whom it sold the meat.

On Monday, the Food Safety and Inspection Service released the names of 14 stores in California that were customers. At least five of the meat markets cater primarily to Latino customers. The carnicerias, as they're called in Spanish, are in Santa Rosa, San Rafael and Napa. Other stores appear to be specialty meat stores.

Phone numbers listed for two of the stores did not seem to be connected. At a third store, a manager was unavailable to speak with a reporter.

In a statement, Scott Parks, the Rancho Feeding plant's quality control manager, said the plant undertook the recall "out of an abundance of caution" and that the company regrets the inconvenience to its customers.

The company last month recalled nearly 42,000 pounds of beef products because they did not have a full federal inspection.

The beef carcasses and boxes affected by Saturday's recall carry the establishment number "EST. 527" and were produced Jan. 1, 2013, through Jan. 7, 2014. In addition to California, they were sold in Florida, Illinois and Texas.

ricardo.lopez@latimes.com

Twitter: @rljourno

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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