If you've been following the recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef and the shutdown of operations of Rancho slaughterhouse in Petaluma during the investigation, perhaps the biggest food story to hit our part of the world, this afternoon's news is that Marin Sun will buy Rancho.
In the absence of public statements from either USDA or the owners with real information, everyone I talked to at social gatherings over the weekend had their own theory on what was going down. Conspiracy rumors were rampant, and one interesting thought surfaced that the initiation of a second investigation by the USDA Office of the Inspector General suggested that some greater crime such as pay-offs had been uncovered. But purely speculation.
The shutdown couldn't have come at a worse time. Ranchers have been thinning their herds in anticipation of less feed and to control environmental damage during the drought and rely on local slaughter. Then to have their product subject to recall with the associated financial loss is an added whammy. Here's the timeline:
Most of all, we hoped that a new operator could be found for the plant. Three years ago, the last time it appeared that Rancho might close, Marin Sun attempted to raise $3 million to acquire the business.
Given that MSF recently expanded with a physical plant in San Francisco, few of us thought it would have the resources to be able to step up . . . shows how much we know.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat says the sale is in escrow, according to MSF. In SFGate, MSF's David Evans says it should reopen in two months. Consumers of local pasture-raised meats have been given a reprieve. And you can go back to eating Hot Pockets.
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