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4,000 pounds of rib-eyes, other beef recalled; mad cow disease a concern

By Saundra Young, CNN
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fruitland American Meat in Jackson, Missouri, processed the beef in question
  • The Fruitland beef went to a Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut
  • One restaurant in New York City and one in Kansas City, Missouri, also received the beef
  • The USDA says the health risk is low; no reports of illness have been made

(CNN) -- More than 4,000 pounds of rib-eye and other fresh beef products have been recalled because they could contain contaminated materials linked to mad cow disease.

The meat in question was processed at Fruitland American Meat in Jackson, Missouri, and distributed to a Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut, which services its New England stores, and a restaurant in New York City and another one in Kansas City, Missouri.

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The beef was produced and packaged between September 2013 and April 2014.

The inspectors found no indication any of the animals slaughtered showed signs of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the formal name of mad cow disease.

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In a statement issued by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, a spokesperson said: "All of these animals received full inspection, both before and after slaughter, by FSIS personnel and showed no abnormal signs or symptoms associated with BSE.

"Out of an abundance of caution, FSIS issued a Class II recall (a remote risk) for product that does not have paperwork showing that nerve tissue was removed. FSIS and the company have received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products."

The USDA requires brain and spinal tissue be removed from meat products from cattle 3 years and older because it can carry the protein that causes mad cow disease.

People who consume meat tainted with mad cow disease could develop a rare, fatal disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

The first cases of vCJD were first reported in 1996, and so far a total of 229 patients with this disease from 12 countries have been identified, according to the CDC.

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