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Meat From Shuttered Petaluma Plant Was Sold Through Fast Food Retailers Including Jack In The Box

PETALUMA (CBS SF) - It appears Jack In The Box and other fast food restaurants were among the retailers who received meat that originated at a Petaluma meat company that was shut down last month after the USDA said the slaughterhouse processed diseased and unhealthy animals and skirted inspection rules.

Jack in the Box spokesman Brian Luscomb confirmed to CBS San Francisco that the company did source meat from several companies, including one that processed meat originating at the now-closed Rancho Feeding Corp. Jack in the Box and other fast food chains were not on the original USDA list of potential distributors of meat from Rancho because they serve what is considered a finished product as opposed to ground beef or other grocery products.

"This was never a food safety issue for Jack in the Box," said Luscomb, who added that any meat that may have originated at Rancho had long since been removed from the company's supply.

Luscomb's comments were the company's first public response following a report in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Wednesday that "the majority of carcasses" from Rancho ended up at Jack in the Box, and that the plant would have shut down without business from the chain. That statement was contained in a letter to the USDA from a company employee that the newspaper said it had obtained from an anonymous source. The company's co-owner told the paper he doubted the veracity of the statement.

Luscomb said the assertion that most of the meat went to Jack in the Box was, "false, especially given the huge number of retailers involved in this recall."

He said the company supports an investigation into any wrongdoing at the plant and is confident in the current consumer safety measures carried out for Jack in the Box.

"All of our beef suppliers perform microbial testing and those products are not allowed to be shipped unless they test negative," he said.

The recall, which began January 13, was initially restricted to meat processed on a single day, but expanded to include all 8.7 million pounds of meat processed in 2013.

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