The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a meat recall on 8.7 million pounds of beef on Feb. 8. The year supply of meat did not complete the inspection process and has been identified by federal regulators as “diseased and unsound.” The northern California company, Rancho Feeding Corporation, produced these meets without final verification and dispersed the meat to various distribution centers, including some in California, Texas, Florida and Illinois.
The FSIS has placed a class I recall on the nearly nine million pounds of meat, including carcasses, beef liver, beef tongue and veal cuts, as a result of on ongoing investigation. Affected meats were packaged in boxes of 20 pounds or more. They are recognizable by the EST. 527 mark on the USDA seal. This is an expansion of an earlier recall issued on Jan. 13 on a shipment that was produced and shipped by the Rancho Feeding Corporation from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7. The shipments included more than 40,000 pounds of meat. The reason for the first batch of meat being recalled was failure to complete a full inspection, as well.
The meat was distributed to PBR Meats and a handful of retail locations, including C&M Meat Company, Del Monte Meat Company, La Morenita Market and Vallergras Market. The real concern now is the meat from the recalled batch that may still exist in freezers at distribution centers or in consumers’ homes.
News of this recall comes after a USDA investigation recently led to a recall of 90,000 pounds of meat from Yauk’s Specialty Meats of Windsor, CO. Reports of unsanitary conditions led to this particular recall in December, 2013. Though there have been no incidents of illness reported from this batch of recalled meat, either, the recalled items include smoked bacon, pork and sausage. They were distributed in retail packages to parts of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The FSIS ensures meat safety and accurate labeling, following the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMI). Under this act, the federal inspection of meat is required and safety approval must be given before being distributed and used for public consumption.
A federal representative from FSIS must be present at the facility while slaughters take place. They check the live animals during active and rest periods and identify diseases that can signify the meat is unhealthy to eat. Only carcasses that have been thoroughly inspected and pass though the inspection can enter into the food supply. Without them overseeing the process, from inspecting the live animals to packaging the meat, it is not allowed to be distributed or sold. Failure to comply with these rules can result in a recall, as the meat is deemed unwholesome and unfit for human consumption.
Beef recalls are designed to highlight food safety issues and bring unsanitary or unwholesome practices to light. The Petaluma-based company, Rancho Feeding Corporation, has failed to meet safety requirements by not completing the federal inspection process. Therefore, FSIS has issued the extended meat recall to include a year’s supply of beef in order to provide awareness to consumers and prevent possible illnesses.
By Tracy Rose