Sunday, 24 August 2014

Four indicted in Feb. recall of 8.7 million pounds of contaminated beef

Published time: August 19, 2014 17:36

Four people from the slaughterhouse at the center of a massive beef recall in February have been indicted for purposely allowing diseased cattle into its processed meat and misleading health inspectors.

Federal prosecutors on Monday this week claimed the owners of Rancho Feeding Corp., a Northern California beef processing plant, schemed with employees to butcher about 79 cows with skin cancer of the eye rather than stopping plant operations during inspector lunch breaks. The government also said that plant workers swapped the heads of diseased cattle with heads of healthy cows to hide them from inspectors.

The company’s co-owners, Jesse Amaral, Jr. and Robert Singleton, were indicted, along with yardman Eugene Corda and foreman Felix Cabrera. Amaral and the two employees were charged with 11 felony counts, including distribution of adulterated and misbranded meat, mail fraud and conspiracy. Singleton was charged with only one count of distributing adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat.

Amaral pleaded not guilty during a Monday morning hearing and was released on $50,000 bail; the status of Cabrera and Corda is still pending. Singleton is expected to plead guilty and cooperate with the US Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of the other three defendants, KQED reported.

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