The new owner of the former Rancho Feeding Corp. slaughterhouse in Petaluma, which shut down amid a massive recall of its beef and veal products, promised a new era Friday.
"The change comes from the top; we have new leadership," said David Evans, owner of Marin Sun Farms. He purchased the shuttered slaughterhouse Feb. 28 and plans to reopen it April 7 as Marin Sun Farms Petaluma.
Evans spoke at a press conference held in the plant's small, irregularly-shaped loading dock room, meat hooks hanging overhead.
The company will work closely with local ranchers, offering a full menu of services from slaughter to processing and distribution, said Evans, a leader in the sustainable meat production industry.
"We're in this with everyone to transform the food supply chain," he said. "It's not all about the animals that grow up on my ranch, it's about working with other ranchers."
The Petaluma plant is considered crucial to ranchers who raise grass-fed beef and sell it to high-end restaurants and at farmers markets. Without the plant, ranchers must take their cattle to processing facilities in Eureka or the Central Valley.
Rancho issued a recall in February of all 8.7 million pounds of beef and veal it produced in 2013. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the plant had circumvented inspection rules and "processed diseased and unsound animals."
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the Rancho meat products.
"We have restructured from the ground up the way this facility works," said Danny Kramer, the company's chief operating officer.