Former Slaughterhouse Owner Pleads Guilty to Selling Diseased Meat

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

The co-owner of a California slaughterhouse tied to a massive meat recall pleaded guilty to charges of selling cows with eye cancer and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against three other defendants.

Robert Singleton, 77, faces up to three years in prison and is free on $50,000 bond, according to a copy of the plea agreement, which was reached Friday.

Singleton co-owned Rancho Feed Corp., which was shut down in February by federal inspectors after a recall of nearly 9 million pounds of meat.

The recall included grocery chains such as Kroger, Food 4 Less and Wal-Mart. Nestle also issued a voluntary recall for its Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets.

Singleton admitted purchasing cows exhibiting eye cancer, which is deemed unfit for human consumption according to federal laws.

Workers severed the heads of those cows to disguise them as healthy cows for processing and inspection.

Singleton was indicted earlier this month along with co-owner Jesse Amaral Jr. and employees Eugene Corda and Felix Cabrera.

Singleton agreed to aid prosecutors in their case against the three, according to the plea agreement.

Amaral, Corda and Cabrera have pleaded not guilty, according to The Associated Press.

Rancho Feeding was sold in February to Marin Sun Farms, an artisanal farm specializing in pasture-raised livestock.