The co-owners of a Petaluma, Calif., slaughterhouse behind a massive beef recall were indicted by a federal grand jury along with two of their employees on charges of knowingly distributing cattle with eye cancer and processing condemned carcasses.
The indictment, which was dated last Thursday, names Rancho Feeding Corp.'s co-owners, Jesse Amaral Jr. and Robert Singleton, and employees Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera.
The four are charged with conspiring to distribute adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat. In addition, the defendants are charged with mail fraud for distributing the meat through the
None of the defendants could be reached for comment Monday.
The indictment said the slaughterhouse knowingly purchased cheaper cattle that exhibited signs of eye cancer. Those cows would be decapitated and moved up the inspection line next to cattle heads without eye cancer to deceive regulators, the indictment said.
The switch occurred when inspectors took lunch breaks, the indictment said.
Also, beginning in 2012, Amaral allegedly directed employees to process cattle that had been condemned by federal inspectors at the plant by carving "USDA Condemned" stamps out of the carcasses.
Rancho Feeding was sold in February to Marin Sun Farms, an artisanal Marin County farm specializing in pasture-raised livestock. The facility is the last remaining beef slaughterhouse in the Bay Area.
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