The owner of a Petaluma slaughterhouse pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute the adulterated and uninspected meat of sick cattle.
Jesse “Babe” Amaral, Jr., 77, owned the now-defunct Rancho Feeding Corp. He admitted that between 2012 and 2014 he knowingly processed for human consumption sick cattle that had been condemned by the US Dept. of Agriculture, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Cattle with symptoms of eye cancer were slaughtered for meat without full inspection, according to the government.
Amaral was indicted in August 2014, along with slaughterhouse employees Eugene Corda, 66, and Felix Cabrera, 56.
Robert Singleton, 78, owner of Rancho Veal Corp. was also charged separately in a federal complaint on a single count of distributing adulterated meat. Singleton pleaded guilty and admitted company employees were instructed to carve “USDA Condemned” stamps out of cable carcasses to conceal from USDA inspectors cows showing signs of eye cancer by switching their diseased heads with the heads of healthy slaughtered cattle.
Cabrera, Rancho Feeding Corp. “kill floor” supervisor also pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy and Corda, the yardman, pleaded guilty in October.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer set July 1 to sentence Amaral.
Case: U.S. v. Amaral, No. CR14-437CRB