Calls to the plant, co-owned by Jesse "Babe" Amaral and Robert Singleton, were not answered Sunday, nor could the plant's quality control manager, Scott Parks, be reached for comment.
After the first recall, the plant closed for some weeks, said local dairy rancher and former president of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau board of directors, Doug Beretta. Beretta sits on the Farm Bureau board and said the plant's closure impacted some local ranchers, who were forced to truck their cattle about 2 1/2 hours away to slaughterhouses in Los Banos and Modesto.
To date, there have been no reported cases of illness from eating the meat.
Tim Tesconi, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, called that fact a good sign and said he was surprised to hear about the scale of this recall.
"From what I've heard they make a great product," he said. "This is very puzzling."
Tesconi and Beretta both said that a prolonged closure could pose a real hardship for small local ranchers who rely on the facility. The North Bay used to have several animal-processing facilities, and Tesconi said that the Farm Bureau supports the desire of the U.C. Cooperative Extension and others to see additional local USDA-inspected facilities arrive to meet the need of "the growing number of small growers doing grass-fed beef."
The investigation into the meat processed at Rancho Feeding Corp., which in the past was known as Rancho Veal Corp., is ongoing, according to the Inspection Service. There are numerous steps involved in slaughtering an animal, and federal inspectors must be present to ensure that the animal is killed in a humane matter and that it does not show signs of disease. It is not yet clear which part of the process inspectors missed, if the plant's operations will be suspended as they were in January, or how long the investigation will continue.
The 8.7-million pounds of recalled meat is much larger than other meat-related recalls issued across the country this month, which range from 365 to 144,000 pounds. But it is considerably smaller than the largest recall on record: In 2008, the California-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company recalled 143 million pounds.
Products included in the new Rancho Feeding Corp. recall include:
Beef carcasses, wholesale and custom sales