The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that a beef processor in California is recalling 8.7 million pounds of beef products sold to retailers and distributors in four states "because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection," the agency said in a press release.
The products being recalled came from Rancho Feeding Corp., a slaughterhouse located in Petaluma, CA, which sold products from cattle believed to be diseased or otherwise unfit for human consumption. In addition to whole carcasses, which are sent to butchers to carve up into retail beef cuts, the recalled products include oxtail, feet, hearts, tongue, liver and tripe.
A number of retailers in Northern California have been identified as receiving the tainted meats, but the others were sent to distribution centers in Illinois, Florida, and Texas, with their final destination so far unknown.
This was the second recall for Rancho Feeding Corp. in two months. The last recall of just over 40,000 pounds of beef products stemmed from the sales of beef slaughtered without the benefit of USDA inspection. According to the LA Times, the company has already shut down.
Despite the fact that no one has fallen ill as a result of consuming the diseased meat, the USDA has designated it a Class 1 recall, the most serious in which products pose a high risk and may "cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."
Unfortunately, consumers don't yet have much to go on as far as where the risky meat products may ultimately wind up. If you have any beef products in your freezer, it's worth calling your grocery store to be sure they didn't come from Rancho Feeding's distributors.
And know your farmer! You can avoid risky recalls like this buy shopping locally and buying meat directly from farmers who raised the animals. To find one near you, visit eatwild.com.
To learn more about the recall, visit fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
Published on: February 10, 2014
Updated on: February 10, 2014