The Maine Department of Agriculture announced that Bubier Meats of Greene has issued a voluntary recall of 25,192 pounds of beef because the dorsal root ganglia may not have been completely removed. According to the Portland Press Herald, inspectors discovered the problem while reviewing the company’s slaughter logs.
Federal regulations require removal of the tissue in cattle 30 months of age and older because it can contain bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which can cause the fatal brain disease in humans who eat tainted beef. The state said the recall posed a low health risk.
Bubier Meats said carcasses were distributed to Rosemont Market locations in Portland and Yarmouth, and Maine Meat in Kittery, between November 2013 and August 2014. All products would have been processed into smaller cuts with no identifying consumer packaging. Neither the Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection program nor Bubier Meats has received reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products, the state said.
Butchers at both retailers say that all the meat sold at their stores was safe because the cows were less than 30 months old and because the butchers had removed the backbone, including the dorsal root ganglia, a cluster of nerve cells that carry sensory signals into the spinal cord.
“This is a paperwork fiasco,” said Evan Mills, the butcher for Rosemont. “At no point were the customers in danger. All the animals we get are under 30 months old.”
Jarrod Spangler, who owns Maine Meat, said an inspector from the Maine Department of Agriculture had given approval to Bubier Meats to sell meat carcasses that contained backbones.
However, when the inspector went on vacation, a different inspector concluded that the slaughterhouse did not have the proper documents for processing such meat.
“In all honesty, it was the fault of the Maine Department of Agriculture, and that failure is causing us to have to deal with this,” Spangler said. “This is a ridiculous situation.”