Monday, December 29, 2003
The recall of 10,000 pounds of beef slaughtered at Vern's Moses Lake Meats the same day the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infected cow was slaughtered has been expanded to include eight states and the U.S. territory of Guam, according to Dr. Ken Petersen of the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service.
The recall was sent out Dec. 23, as an "abundance of precaution," despite infected portions of the cow, including the brain and spinal cord, having been removed from the animal at Vern's Meats.
"Because the meat leaving Vern's did not contain these high-risk materials, the recalled beef represents an essentially zero risk to consumers," said Petersen.
The cow was then sent with 20 other cows to Midway Meats in Centralia, where it was deboned before it was shipped to Willamette Valley Meats in Portland, Ore. and Interstate Meat Distributors in Clackamas, Ore. Petersen said about 25 percent of the meat shipped to Interstate Meats has not been distributed.
Beef from the two plants in Oregon were sold primarily to Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada. Petersen said that trimmings from Willamette Valley were sold to three dozen mom and pop Asian and Mexican facilities in Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada.
Petersen said it has been learned that some of the consignees had additional distribution to Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho and Guam.
Most of the meat from Interstate Meats was ground up and some made into ground beef patties. All of the ground beef and patties from Interstate Meats was sold within Washington and Oregon. He said already meat is being returned as a part of the recall.
Dr. Stephen Sundlof with the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine said they have also gained control of all of the renderings from Vern's Moses Lake Meats and Midway Meats.
'We are trying to trace down any products, any byproducts from the processing of the BSE indexed cow, to try and keep it from getting into any products the FDA regulates, including animal feed," said Petersen.
. Melissa Browning can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org