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. The beef was produced and packaged between September 2013 and April 2014.
The USDA has classified the recall a “Class II,” meaning the health risk is low. There have been no reports of illness as a result of consumption.
According to a spokesperson from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, all of the cattle involved with this recall were inspected by its veterinarians before they were slaughtered. The inspectors found “no indications any of the animals slaughtered displayed” bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the formal name of mad cow disease.
The USDA requires brain and spinal tissue be removed from meat products from cattle 30 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.