Mad Cow Disease Fears Lead To Beef Recall

A recall of more than 4,000 pounds of fresh ground beef products has been initiated, after government food inspections agencies idicated that the beef may be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which is more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. 

The Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye beef recall was announced by the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on June 11, following a review of the manufacturer’s slaughter logs, which indicated specific materials were not removed from the beef products that may allow them to be infected with BSE. To date, no illnesses or deaths have been reported.

During the processing of beef products, “specified risk materials” are removed from cattle during the slaughter process to prevent contamination. Specifically, the dorsal root ganglia that branches from the nervous system located in the vertebral column are considered high risk materials.

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According to FSIS regulations, these kinds of tissues and other are to be removed from cattle 30 months of age and older due to the fact they are more likely to contain the infective agent Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

The infectious agent that causes mad cow disease is an abnormal version of a protein normally found on cell surfaces, called a prion. Typical use of heat to cook meats to kill infections does not work with prions and they remain in the food. Symptoms of mad cow can take up to 13 months to surface and can consist of depression, loss of coordination, and in later stages can cause dementia, brain abnormalities and even death.

The FSIS noticed the potential for these specified beef products to be infected when reviewing the company’s slaughter logs. The FSIS’s investigation indicates the company employees were recording information and determining the age of various cattle incorrectly, potentially allowing cattle containing the aged dorsal root ganglia to pass inspection without removal.

The recalled beef products were manufactured by Fruitland American Meat Company of Jackson, Missouri on various dates ranging from September 2013 to April 2014.

Recalled products include 40-lb. cases of “Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye” steaks containing roughly two 20-lb. cryovac packages of bone-in bearing the establishment number “EST. 2316” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The beef products were marked with the production dates 9/5/13, 9/10/13, 9/11/13, 9/26/13, 10/2/13, 10/3/2013, 11/8/13, 11/22/13, 12/17/13, 12/26/13, 12/27/13,1/16/14, 1/17/14, 1/23/14, 1/31/14, 2/13/14, 2/14/14, 2/21/14, 2/28/14, 3/8/14, 3/20/14, 4/4/14 or 4/25/14 printed on the box. The quartered beef carcasses were stamped with the USDA mark of inspection and have establishment number EST.2316.

The beef products were known to have been distributed to a restaurant in New York and a Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut. Beef carcasses were known to have been distributed to a plant in Missouri and a restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri. All recalled beef products would have been cut and packaged separately with no identifying marks on the consumer packaging.

The recall has been classified as a Class II recall meaning there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from consumption of the beef products.

The FSIS is advising consumers to be cautious of adverse health effects after consuming ribeye beef products from the distributed states and to consult with their healthcare provider if necessary. Customers may also contact Fruitland American Meat’s sales manager James Fortner at 573-243-3107 with further questions regarding the recall.

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