Maine meat firm recalls beef that may contain nerve material

Posted Aug. 29, 2014, at 6:09 p.m.

GREENE, Maine — Bubier Meats of Greene is recalling about 25,192 pounds of fresh beef products because the dorsal root ganglia may not have been completely removed, the Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection program announced Friday.

Federal regulations require the removal of the nerve material in cattle 30 months of age and older, state meat inspectors said in a news release.

The products subject to recall include quartered beef carcasses that were stamped with the Maine mark of inspection and establishment number “EST. 4” with the following ship dates: 11/13/13, 11/26/13, 1/2/14, 1/21/14, 2/5/14, 2/19/14, 3/5/14, 3/19/14, 4/2/14, 4/30/14, 5/12/14, 5/28/14, 6/11/14, 6/25/14, 7/9/14, 7/23/14, 8/6/14, 8/20/14.

Bubier Meats said the quartered carcasses were distributed to Maine retail stores, Rosemont Market locations in Portland and Yarmouth, and Maine Meat in Kittery from November of last year through earlier this month.

All products would have been processed into smaller cuts with no identifying consumer packaging. Such smaller cuts may include bone-in ribeye roasts, prime rib roasts, T-bone steaks, porterhouse steaks, wing steaks, bone-in ribeye steaks, bone-in sirloin steaks and neck bones.

Inspectors discovered the problem during a review of company slaughter logs.

Specified risk materials are tissues that may contain the infective agent in cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues.

Although bovine spongiform encephalopathy is extremely rare — only four cows infected with it have been identified in the United States to date — the disease remains a human health concern. To that end, federal regulations prohibit specified risk materials from use as human food to minimize potential exposure to the disease.

Each of the animals at issue had been inspected before they were slaughtered, both while at rest and in motion. All animals appeared healthy with no indication that any of the cattle slaughtered displayed any signs of mad cow disease.

Neither Bubier Meats nor meat inspectors have received reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a health care provider.

MMPI routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

According to The New York Times, fewer than 200 people worldwide have suffered from the human variant of mad cow disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. That type accounts for less than 1 percent of all cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which leads to a rapid decrease in mental function and movement.

Consumers and media with questions about the recall can call Tobie Bubier, establishment manager, at 946-5015.

Consumers with food safety questions can consult “Ask Karen,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service’s virtual representative, a live chat service available 24 hours a day at askkaren.gov.

BDN business and economy writer Darren Fishell contributed to this report.

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