Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that a man from Texas died from a variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a brain condition that is linked with eating meat from cows with mad cow disease (also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE). The CDC, however, assured the public that there is no reason to be alarmed as the man was apparently infected while travelling abroad.
Developments in the beef industry, however, suggest that consumers still need to be cautious after all. A Missouri-based company has recalled about 4,000 pounds of beef products as they may possibly be contaminated with a mad cow disease pathogen.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said that Fruitland American Meat, which is based in Jackson, Missouri recalled two cryovac-packaged bone-in "Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye" with the establishment number EST. 2316 and were produced on different dates between September 5, 2013 to April 25, 2014. The products were distributed to a Connecticut-based Whole Foods distribution center to be sold in New England stores and one restaurant in New York.
The company has also recalled beef carcasses that were stamped with establishment number EST. 2316 and the USDA mark of inspection which were produced and packaged anywhere from September 2013 to April 2014 and were distributed to a restaurant in Kansan City and another Missouri-based establishment.
"SRMs are tissues that may contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues," the USDA said in its statement. "Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent."
The beef recall was initiated after the FSIS discovered during a review of slaughter logs that Fruitland American Meat may not have removed the dorsal root ganglia tissue from cattle that were at least 30 months old, which is not compliant with federal regulations. The dorsal root ganglia needs to be removed as this is considered as specified risk materials (SRMs) and may contain pathogen associated with mad cow disease in affected cattle.
The problem may have been caused by the manner through which employees of the company determined the age of cattle. Fruitland American Meat and the FISIS have did not receive reports of adverse events related with the consumption of the beef products so far.