NOBULL: USDA allows new owner to reopen former Rancho Feeding plant

USDA allows new owner to reopen former Rancho Feeding plant

By Tom Johnston on 3/27/2014

USDA has authorized a new owner to reopen a Petaluma, Calif., slaughterhouse shuttered amidst its nationwide recall of beef products believed to have been harvested from diseased cattle and without federal inspection.

The San Francisco Bay area’s Marin Sun Farms is slated to begin operations on April 7. The company bought the facility last month from Rancho Feeding Corp. after Rancho recalled nearly 9 million pounds of beef products distributed to at least 35 states.

The plant is a crucial outlet for the region’s ranchers. Marin Sun Farms now offers slaughter, cut and wrap, and distribution services in the Bay Area with a focus on local, pastured meat.

“This slaughterhouse had been the only abattoir in the San Francisco Bay area, making it a gateway for small niche producers to get to market,” Marin Sun Farms founder David Evans said in a news release. “I want to get this facility back to full operations so that consumers can enjoy a growing number of options from local producers in the market place.”

Marin Sun Farms has USDA approval to harvest beef and pork at this facility, and plans to add lamb and goat in the near future. The company expects to receive Organic certification by the end of the year.