PETALUMA (KCBS) – Bay Area Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) and Jared Huffman (D–San Rafael) want to increase the funding allocated to federal food safety breach investigators, following a massive recall and the shuttering of a Petaluma slaughterhouse earlier this year.

The pair said they are frustrated with the pace of the investigation into what happened at Rancho Feeding Corporation, which was shut down in February and has since reopened.

So they have introduced an appropriations bill amendment that would transfer a million dollars between departments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This is funding that is coming out of USDA administrative budgeting and going into the Inspector General, which is their internal investigative unit,” said Congressman Huffman.

The amendment was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, and the appropriations bill to which the amendment is attached is expected to be voted on by the House next week.

Nearly 9 million pounds of beef processed at Rancho Feeding Corp. were recalled in February, and thus far, the USDA has not released any official findings, since the agency opened an investigation.

Thompson said the hope is that the additional funding will prevent this sort of recall from happening again.

“I don’t want to see a pound of beef recalled, and I don’t want to see one smidgen of meat go out that poses a safety problem for consumers,” Thompson said. “And the USDA has the responsibility to make sure that they do proper oversight, and that’s what I’m trying to get at.”

Calls from KCBS to the USDA for comment have not been returned.


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