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Washington Firm Recalls Beef Products Following Presumptive BSE Determination

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2003 - Verns Moses Lake Meats, a Moses Lake, Wash., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 10,410 pounds of raw beef that may have been exposed to tissues containing the infectious agent that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The beef subject to this Class II recall was produced on Dec. 9 and was shipped to several establishments where it was further processed. FSIS is continuing its investigation to ensure that all distribution of the beef products is correctly identified.

FSIS' designation of this recall as Class II is due to the extremely low likelihood that the beef being recalled contains the infectious agent that causes BSE. According to scientific evidence, the tissues of highest infectivity are the brain, spinal cord, and distal ileum, which were removed from the rest of the carcass at slaughter. Therefore, the meat produced were cuts that would not be expected to be infected or have an adverse public health impact, but are being recalled out of an abundance of caution.

Media and consumers with questions about the recall should contact Tom Ellestad, company secretary, at 509-765-4182.

Consumers with other food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

BSE is a progressive neurological disease among cattle. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Also included in that family of illnesses is the human disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), which is believed to be caused by eating neural tissue, such as brain and spinal cord, from BSE-affected cattle.

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NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS Web site at  http://www.fsis.usda.gov

USDA RECALL CLASSIFICATIONS

Class I This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

Class II This is a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.

Class III This is a situation where the use of the product will not cause adverse health consequences.




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