Elkhorn Valley Packing LLC, a Harper, Kan., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 406,000 pounds of frozen cattle heads with tonsils not completely removed, which is not compliant with regulations that require the removal of tonsils from cattle of all ages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
Tonsils are considered a specified risk material (SRM) and must be removed from cattle of all ages in accordance with FSIS regulations. SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with BSE, as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues. Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.
The products subject to recall include: [View Label | Larger Image (PDF)] Various weight bulk boxes of “BEEF WHOLE HEADS, KEEP REFRIGERATED.” Each shipping package bears the establishment numbers “EST. 19549A” inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as a package code of “91700” or “93700.”
The company is recalling all products packed before March 28, 2008, with the package code “91700” or “93700.” These products were sent to distributors and wholesalers nationwide.
The problem was discovered at a State-inspected processing establishment that received some of the recalled products and verified that there had been incomplete removal of the tonsils. FSIS has received no reports of illness at this time.
Media and consumers with questions about the recall should contact company President Mike Grant at (620) 896-2300.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to
4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.