An official at a California slaughterhouse has pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing meat that came from cancerous cows.
On Friday, the co-owner of Rancho Feeding Corporation admitted to his role in the meat recall case. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Robert Singleton is charged with aiding and abetting in the distribution of adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat. The 77-year-old from Petaluma, California is out on a $50,000 bond.
Singleton’s lawyer, Pamela Davis, apologized on her client’s behalf, saying Singleton “accepts full responsibility for his conduct… [and] acknowledges the harm he’s caused to the community”
As part of his guilty plea, Singleton has agreed to help prosecutors in their case against three other slaughterhouse staffers. So far, Jesse Amaral Jr., Felix Cabrera and Eugene Corda have pleaded not guilty in the meat recall case.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture alleges that the three tampered with diseased cow carcasses, so that they could be processed.
Citing portions of the indictment, the San Francisco Chronicle said, “From 2012 to this year, [slaughterhouse general manager Jesse Amaral Jr.] directed employees to process cattle that had already been condemned by a U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian… [the plant foreman Felix Cabrera] then allegedly told ‘kill floor’ employees to carve the ‘USDA Condemned’ out of the carcasses”.
As for his role in the meat recall scandal, Eugene Corda reportedly ignored signs that certain cows were sick, swapping them in for healthy cows that had already passed inspection.
The Department of Agriculture alleges that meat tampering happened during lunch hour, while inspectors were not on the slaughterhouse floor.
The LA Times notes that, if convicted, the slaughterhouse trio could be sentenced to over 20 years in prison and could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The tainted meat scandal came to light in February, when the slaughterhouse was shut down by officials. At the time, 8.7 million pounds of meat was recalled.
According to the New York Times, there have been no apparent illnesses from consumption of the recalled meat. As reported in the Inquisitr, the recalled meat was sold in California, Florida, Texas and Illinois. The cuts of beef were mostly offal, including tripe, heart, liver and feet.
In the wake of the meat recall, Rancho Feeding Corporation was sold to Marin Sun Farms. The LA Times said the facility is now the last beef slaughterhouse in the San Francisco Bay area.
[Stock photo by: Randy Heinitz]