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Articles by Julia Barajas, LAist

Featured Article

This story was originally published by LAist and is republished with permission.

Tucked along Bandini Boulevard in the city of Vernon are the headquarters for Baker Commodities Inc., a company that employs 900 workers across the U.S. and is home base for some of the grisliest industrial work in the country.

Behind the nondescript walls of its campus along the L.A. River sit machines used to grind, cook, and press leftover pieces of cows, pigs, and chickens. These remains — and, sometimes, entire carcasses — are delivered on semitrucks from butcher shops, grocery stores, restaurants, slaughterhouses and livestock farms. A worker then pushes them into a pit with a tractor and, through a process called rendering, they’re turned into fats, meat and bone meal, and hides.

These materials are recycled to make scores of everyday products, including soap, pet food, makeup, and leather goods. The long-running industry plays important roles in reducing food waste.

For decades, residents ... Read more