A Missouri company is recalling possibly tainted beef products that were distributed to a New York City restaurant and a Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Fruitland American Meat is recalling 4,012 pounds of shrink-wrapped rib eye and other products because they could contain parts of the nervous system that can carry properties related to mad cow disease.
The disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is fatal to cows and can cause a fatal brain disease in people who eat tainted beef.
Authorities say the products were produced between September 2013 and April 2014. The USDA would not identify the New York City restaurant on Thursday, saying the eatery had removed all of the problematic products from its inventory and there was no further risk.
A 2008 directive prohibits the USDA from releasing restaurant names in food recalls, based on the premise that once the restaurants get rid of the products, diners no longer have to worry. The USDA had no comment when asked how New Yorkers would know if they ate potentially tainted beef at the unnamed restaurant. Symptoms of mad cow disease typically don't show up in a human for several months.
The USDA said the Whole Foods center serves stores in New England, but did not immediately provide a list of stores.
The agency says there's no indication the slaughtered cattle showed signs of mad cow disease.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service found the possible problem while reviewing the company's slaughter logs and said the issue may have been a result of the manner that company employees determined the age of various cattle.
The dorsal root ganglia within the nervous system has to be removed from cattle that are 30 months and older but may not have been removed from some of the products.
There have been no reports of anyone being sickened after eating the products, the USDA said. The agency characterized the alert as a Class II recall, meaning there's a "remote probability" of health problems.
The recalled products include: 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.