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Letter: Rancho Feeding beef used in fast food hamburgers

  • Operations at the Rancho Veal Slaughterhouse in Petaluma have stopped after 8.7 million pounds of beef products was recently recalled. Photo taken Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. (CONNER JAY/ PD)

Much of the beef from Rancho Feeding Corp., the Petaluma slaughterhouse that had to recall all the meat it produced last year, ended up in hamburgers sold by fast food giant Jack in the Box, according to a letter from the plant's manager to the federal government.

The beef also ended up in the products of other fast food chains. Those companies, as well as Jack in the Box, have recalled the hamburger patties, a top industry consultant said on Tuesday.

Also, the company that supplied the food chains has recalled the product, though it is all but certain it has been consumed, said the consultant, Dave Theno.

Rancho Feeding Corp.

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“At this stage, I believe they are all completed,” Theno, a former executive with Jack in the Box, said of the fast food chains' recall actions.

In the Oct. 28, 2013, letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service, Rancho Feeding manager Scott Parks criticized as unfounded a USDA inspector's report that a cow was slaughtered inhumanely.

The Press Democrat obtained the letter from a source who asked to remain anonymous because the case is being investigated by the USDA and the U.S. Attorney General. In it, Parks said Rancho would lose customers if it was thought to be treating animals incorrectly.

His main concern was with Jack in the Box.

“The majority of our carcasses end up at Jack in the Box,” Parks wrote to the USDA's Alameda office, “and if they stop taking our product we will be out of business.”

Former Rancho co-owner Robert Singleton said Tuesday that he doubted Parks had actually written such a statement regarding the fast-food company, saying, “He wouldn't know.”

Jack in the Box officials did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

Rancho was forced in February to recall 8.7 million pounds of beef and veal produced in 2013 and sold throughout the United States and Canada. The USDA said it had been produced without being fully inspected.

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