North Bay News
Petaluma slaughterhouse under criminal probe
PETALUMA, Calif. -- A congressman says federal officials have launched a criminal probe of a Northern California slaughterhouse that recently recalled more than 8.7 million pounds of beef.
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman told the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa on Monday he learned about the U.S. Attorney's Office's investigation of Petaluma-based Rancho Feeding Corp. during a telephone call with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Huffman said investigators could not provide details, but he was told the suspected misconduct was grave.
The USDA has said Rancho processed diseased and unhealthy animals and circumvented federal inspection rules. The recalled beef was sold at Walmart and other national chains and used in products, including Hot Pockets.
Robert Singleton, a partner in Rancho, has denied the allegations and said he was unaware of a criminal investigation.
Sources tell the San Francisco Chronicle the company is accused of killing and selling meat from dairy cows with eye cancer. Rancho was allegedly buying sick cows and chopping off their heads to avoid detection by inspectors. That's illegal, but experts say eating the meat is not likely to make you sick.
ABC7 News contributed to this report.
petaluma, food, animal, product recalls, north bay news
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