The co-owner of a slaughterhouse in California has been indicted by a federal grand jury for processing and distributing cattle known to have eye cancer. According to the indictment (below), Rancho Feeding Corporation's co-owner Jesse Amaral Jr. and two of his employees Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera knowingly purchased cattle that showed signs of eye cancer because it was cheaper. To deceive regulators, they would decapitate the sick cows and move the bodies up the inspection line next to healthy cattle heads. They would make the switch when the inspectors were on lunch breaks.
The Chicago Tribune writes that in 2012 Amaral Jr. apparently told employees to process cattle that had been "condemned by federal inspectors." Workers were asked to carve the "USDA Condemned stamps out of the carcasses." The indictment points out that between January 2013 and January 2014, Rancho Feed Corp. "processed and distributed for human consumption carcasses, carcass parts, and meat from approximately 101 condemned cattle and approximately 79 cancer eye cows." Shockingly, the company allegedly compensated Cabrera only $50 for "each condemned carcass or uninspected cancer eye cow carcass that Rancho distributed."
The defendants are being charged with "conspiring to distribute adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat." They are also up against mail fraud charges for distributing the tainted meat through the U.S. Postal Service. All in all, they face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and up to 20 years in prison. KQED reports that Rancho's other co-owner Robert Singleton is also being indicted on a "single count of distributing adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat." Back in January, the USDA suspended operations at the slaughterhouse which resulted in a recall of 10 million pounds of beef sold to large retailers like Kroger and Walmart. Rancho Feeding Corp. was then sold to an artisanal farm in February. Go, see the indictment below: