30 pounds of beef recalled in Alaska in mad cow case

Fred Meyer, Safeway say they received no meat that has been recalled

Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Thirty pounds of beef have been recalled in Alaska, part of federal efforts to trace and retrieve products that could contain meat from a Washington cow infected with mad cow disease, the state veterinarian said Monday.

It wasn't immediately known where the beef had been shipped in Alaska.

The two largest grocery retailers in the state, Fred Meyer and Carrs/Safeway, said they had received no meat involved in the recall.

Dr. Bob Gerlach, the state veterinarian, said the http://www.usda.govU.S. Department of Agriculture is handling the recall, and the USDA would not disclose what company in Alaska received the meat.

An Agriculture Department spokesman in Washington, D.C., said the department is not allowed to release wholesalers' customer lists, which are proprietary information and could benefit competitors.

Consumers wondering if they have purchased meat involved in the recall can contact the store where they purchased it, said Daniel Puzo, a spokesman for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

"Any retailer that's handled this product knows it and would be able to answer that question," Puzo said.

Federal officials say there's no risk to public health from the meat.

But they've taken the precaution of recalling 10,000 pounds of beef from the infected cow and 19 other cows slaughtered Dec. 9 at a meat plant in Washington.

Last week officials said most of the meat went to Washington and Oregon, with lesser amounts to California and Nevada. But on Sunday, Agriculture officials added Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and Guam to the list.

Dr. Kenneth Petersen, a USDA veterinarian, said the slaughtered cow was deboned at Midway Meats in Centralia, Wash., and sent Dec. 12 to two other plants, Willamette Valley Meat and Interstate Meat, both near Portland, Ore.

Neither of those plants sold meat directly to Alaska, but federal officials tracing the meat from there found it went to 42 different companies, called "tertiary processors," Gerlach said. The meat that wound up in Alaska came from one of those 42 companies, he said.

Gerlach said he does not know whether additional recalled beef beyond the 30 pounds will be found in Alaska.

About 80 percent of the recalled meat was distributed in Washington and Oregon, Petersen said.

The department is continuing to monitor all efforts to trace and recall all products associated with the 10,000 pounds of meat, he said.

Matt Baun, a USDA spokesman, said about 100 callers, mostly from Oregon and Washington, had called to say they had consumed recalled meat and were worried.

Baun said they were being told the meat was safe since it was muscle meat and not affected.

"If it had been from the spinal column it would have been different," he said.

Web link

Agriculture Department: http://www.usda.gov



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