A Missouri meat packing plant is recalling thousands of pounds of fresh beef because of the risk of mad cow disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle.
Fruitland American Meat, based in Jackson, Mo., issued the recall on 4,012 pounds of fresh beef products, including its Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye and quartered beef carcasses, because the cows from which the meat was produced did not have their dorsal root ganglia completely removed. The dorsal root ganglia is part of the cow’s central nervous system that is affected by mad cow disease. It must be removed from all cattle by the time they are 30 months old in order to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.
Fruitland says that the cattle slaughtered for the meat were only 28 months old, which means the meat should not pose a health risk. No adverse events to date have been reported in relation to the recall. The risk is categorized as “low” by the USDA.
However, mad cow disease is frightening, slowly attacking the brain and causing decline of cognitive ability and death. While it is rare for humans to contract mad cow, when humans do acquire the disease it is called new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) disease.
In nearly two decades, only four confirmed cases of vCJD have been identified, the latest of which was found last month in Texas. That case was believed to have been caused while the individual was overseas.
The meat from Fruitland was reportedly distributed to Whole Foods stores in the Northeast, as well as several restaurants. While the USDA would not name the restaurants, reports indicate the meat was delivered to restaurants in New York City and Kansas City, Mo.