Congressmen call for more funding for Rancho recall inquiry

  • The Rancho Feeding Corp. slaughterhouse on Petaluma Blvd. North in Petaluma sits idle on Monday afternoon February 10, 2014, and has ceased operations after its recall of 8.7 million pounds of meat from 2013.

Spurred by the international meat recall that shuttered a Petaluma slaughterhouse, two North Coast representatives want to allot an additional $1 million in funding to authorities who investigate food safety breaches.

An amendment offered by Reps. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday, would transfer the additional money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the department's inspector general.

They said the funding boost, now attached to a pending agricultural appropriations bill, was meant to speed the inquiry into what happened at Rancho Feeding Corp., which shut in February and has since reopened under a new name and new management, and to aid other investigations.

"Our amendment ensures the USDA Inspector General's Office has the resources needed to swiftly complete the investigation, close the case, and ensure we get answers so we can prevent this from happening again," Huffman said in a statement.

The slaughterhouse in February recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef, all of it produced in 2013, after the USDA opened an investigation. Allegations were made that diseased cows, including some with eye cancer, had been processed but no official findings have been released.

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