Beef tongues without tonsils are a delicacy. Beef tongues with tonsils are banned product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Tonsils are “specific risk material” (SRM) as they contain tissues known to contain the infective agent for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle that have what is also known as “Mad Cow Disease.”
That’s why Omaha-based J.F. O’Neill Packing Company recalled 33,000 pounds of beef tongues late Thursday. The tonsils may not have been completely removed before they were shipped.
USDA regulations require the removal of tonsils from cattle of all ages. All SRM must be removed from the animal to minimize any potential human exposure to the BSE agent.
The following product is subject to recall:
” Various weight cases of “BEEF TONGUES.” Each case bears the establishment number “EST. 889A” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were sold under the following brand names:
”J.F. O’NEILL PACKING CO.,” “WHOLE FOODS NATURAL,” “WHOLE FOODS ORGANIC,” “PREMIER PROTEIN PARTNERS,” “MONTANA RANCH BRAND,” “GRASSLAND BEEF,” “AUSTIN MEATS,” “MORGAN RANCH,” “KOBE BEEF AMERICA,” “IMPERIAL WAGYU BEEF,” “BRAND ADVANTAGE WAGYU,” “BRAND ADVANTAGE PARTNERS,” “YAMAYA U.S.A.,” and “A.D. ROSENBLATT.”
The company is recalling all products packed between July 1, 2009, and October 8, 2009. These products were shipped primarily to distribution centers in Nebraska and California for further sale to restaurants, hotels and institutions.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) conducted an inspection at the establishment and discovered the problem through a food safety assessment.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers (including restaurants) of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.