A California slaughterhouse owner who admitted ordering the sale of meat from ailing and uninspected cattle — leading to a nationwide recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef and veal products in 2014 — was sentenced Wednesday to a year in federal prison.
Jesse Amaral, 78, of Petaluma, former president of Rancho Feeding Corp., pleaded guilty a year ago to conspiracy to distribute adulterated and misbranded meat. Robert Singleton, owner of Rancho Veal Corp., which purchased cattle for the Petaluma slaughterhouse, and two slaughterhouse employees have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing in March.
Amaral admitted ordering employees between 2012 and January 2014 to process cattle that had been condemned by a government veterinarian — meaning they were unfit for human consumption — and to avoid full inspection of cattle suffering from epitherlioma, or eye cancer.
Prosecutors said he told the employees to deceive inspectors by putting the heads of cows that had been healthy next to the carcasses of decapitated cows that had eye cancer. He also directed employees to use carvers to remove “condemned” stamps from cattle carcasses, prosecutors said. Amaral also admitted sending fraudulent invoices to cattle farmers telling them their cattle had died or had been condemned rather than slaughtered and sold.