Fruitland American Meat, a company out of Missouri, has recalled over 4,000 pounds of ground beef out of fear that it may contain portions of nervous system that can carry properties related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.
Mad cow disease is fatal in cows and humans. It is contracted by eating tainted beef and can lead to a degenerative brain disease with symptoms that include rapidly progressive dementia, leading to memory loss, personality changes and hallucinations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that there is no indication that the meat being recalled has been tainted, but the company has chosen to issue the recall as a safety precaution.
The beef was sold to stores in Connecticut and restaurants in New York City and Kansas City, Missouri.
The USDA determined that the way the company judged the age of the cattle as they were slaughtering them could have led to the beef being tainted. In cows that are 30 months or older, the dorsal root ganglia within the nervous system have to be removed to prevent the disease from staying in the meat and being consumed.
The company may have been inaccurate when judging the ages of some of the cows and left the ganglia in tact. These parts of the nervous system are where the prions that cause mad cow disease are most commonly found.
There have not be any reports of mad cow disease symptoms from anyone who has consumed beef from the restaurants or stores where the beef was sold.
The agency characterized the recall as a Class II recall, meaning there's a "remote probability" of health problems associated with using the recalled product.
The beef products that are included in the recall are, quartered beef carcasses stamped with the USDA mark of inspection and establishment number "EST. 2316," and 80-lb. cases containing two cryovac packages of bone-in "Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye" bearing the establishment number "EST. 2316" inside the USDA mark of inspection with the following production dates printed on the box: 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.
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