California company temporarily halts pork processing

by Meat&Poultry staff
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EUREKA, Calif. – Humboldt County residents include many hog producers, backyard farmers and small ranchers who raise pigs for their families, friends, local grocery stores and restaurants. But local packer Redwood Meat Co., based in Eureka, who services these producers, recently decided to stop processing hogs, according to The North Coast Journal. This move was apparently made after the business received a notice this past March from the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service that threatened to suspend inspection at Redwood Meat Co.'s after inspectors allegedly observed lambs being improperly slaughtered there.

The plant is the only USDA-approved slaughterhouse in the area.

"We proffered a plan to [the USDA] as a result of our suspension," said Ryan Nylander, Redwood Meat Co. plant manager. He said the plan includes increasing the level of monitoring of critical control points at the facility. After a 90-day verification process, during which time the company is continuing to process lambs, cattle and sheep, Nylander said it "will start entertaining the thought of doing pigs."

Compliance would require some costly improvements, including adding a knock box. However, a USDA spokeswoman explained that Redwood Meat Co.'s hog processing “didn't stop because of something that was wrong” [with that operation.]” Its hog processing had not received any sort of disciplinary action.

Despite hogs being a relatively small part of this packer’s business, Nylander expects the company will begin processing them again in the future.
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