September 23, 2018

Amid Criminal Allegations, Rancho Owner Speaks Out For Ranchers

Jesse Amaral, the owner of  Rancho Feeding Corp., a Petaluma, Calif. slaughterhouse under criminal investigation for processing diseased cows, says none of the cattle from local custom ranches were diseased. Rancho allegedly slaughtered dairy cows with eye cancer and sold the meat, according to a report published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Unnamed sources in the story said Rancho removed the heads of the cows before slaughter to prevent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors from detecting the disease.

cows grazingRancho, which recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef on February 8, has voluntarily closed while it is being investigated.

The closure and criminal investigation of Rancho, the only beef processing plant in the Bay Area, has had an impact on local ranchers and retailers nationwide. Because the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to make sure that none of the meat from diseased cattle was co-mingled with beef from healthy animals all the beef processes at the plant between Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 7, 2014  is being recalled.

This has put local custom ranchers of organic and grass-fed beef in a bind. One of them is Bill Niman, the former owner of Niman Ranch who now raises grass-fed beef. In a statement provided by his attorney Jeffrey Bornstein, of K&L Gates LLP, Amaral apologized for the effect the investigation and closure has had on his customers and consumers and clarified that cows from local ranchers were

“There is no reason for the government to prevent Bill Niman and other local custom beef ranchers from distributing the beef from their cattle because it is wholesome and was fully inspected,”according to the statement. “None of Bill Niman’s cows, or the meat from other local custom beef ranchers, were in any way tainted, diseased or uninspected — the records and documentation obtained by federal investigators support this fact.”





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