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Rotted meat rolled out of Riteway

Customers' meat transported away from Dundee facility under the supervision of the USDA

On Feb. 19 meat was removed from Riteway Meat Co., confirming customers’ beliefs that their meat was still inside the business during the entirety of its closure.

Around noon a freight truck was backed up to the entrance of the building with its rear doors open and a tarp secured to obscure the public’s view of what was being loaded into the truck. However, a worker was observable at the back of the truck with a breathing apparatus.Photo Credit: COLIN STAUB - Destination unknown - A truck from a Eugene mobile slaughter and processing firm disposed of rotted meat last week from Riteway Meat Company in Dundee.

A metal rail extended out from the interior of the building, and animal carcasses hanging from hooks slid out of the building and were loaded into the back of the truck. One by one cattle and other animals’ hides were lifted into the freight truck.

Frank Barcellos, Oregon Department of Agriculture food safety program manager, confirmed that the department had some inspectors doing follow-up work at the facility that day. He explained that the Oregon office has been working with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and that USDA investigator Darren Sisk of the department’s western regional branch has been working on the case.

“We can’t make any comments on that investigation,” Sisk said, adding that the process was “fluid.”

Sisk referred inquiries to the USDA’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education in Washington, D.C.

USDA Food Safety Inspection Service spokesperson Alexandra Tarrant confirmed that the national branch is aware of the situation and will work with the regional office if assistance is needed, but that there is no open investigation at the national level.

She explained that the business was operating with a Custom Processor license, which meant it falls under local jurisdiction.

Capt. Jeff Kosmicki of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department said an investigation remains open but that there is no timeline at this point.

“Detectives are balancing this case with several others,” he said, adding that he did not know of any other agencies that were involved in the investigation besides the NDPD and the USDA.

While there were no markings on the truck backed up to the business’s door, its USDOT number is registered to Shoe’s Mobile Slaughter & Processing LLC, located in Eugene.

Riteway Meat Co. closed near the beginning of the year, with some customers reporting their orders of meat were still inside the facility. After initially receiving word from co-owner Sharon Payne that Riteway would reopen during the week of Jan. 19 there has been no further response from the owners and the business remains closed.

Customers have reported losing meat that would have been worth thousands of dollars, with one small farm out more than $10,000.

Some customers reported their meat was still inside the facility after it closed and had no power. Until its removal those reports had been unconfirmed.

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