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A California meat processing company has had to recall more than 8.7 million pounds of beef, following an investigation by federal safety officers that revealed the meat came from "diseased and unsound" animals in violation of food safety practices.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Rancho Feeding Corporation initiated a recall last month but the amount of meat that was withdrawn from the market, starting on Jan. 8, was just 40,000 pounds. A detailed investigation by the FSIS showed that a large expansion of the recall was necessary because of suspected contamination issues.

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The products manufactured by Rancho Feeding Corporation were adulterated and were produced from diseased animals without "the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection," the FSIS said in a statement. There have been no illnesses reported in association with the recalled products, which were shipped to distribution centers and retail centers in California, Texas, Illinois and Florida. It is unknown whether any of the meat was sold to restaurants or any other market.

The recall notice lists a wide range of products to be taken down from shelves, including beef carcasses, heads, cheeks, lips, livers, feet and tongues. The FSIS explained that there was a high risk of serious health consequences, or even death, in the event of consumption.