Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 1/5/2004
Subject: Mad Cow Disease
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Division of Environmental Health
Phone: 445-6215

(Eureka) - Humboldt County Public Health has received notice that some of the meat from the Holstein cow in Washington state found to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow Disease, may have come to WinCo Foods of Eureka.

“WinCo Foods has been very responsible in this voluntary recall and has fully cooperated with USDA and all state and local health officials,” said Jeff Arnold, Director of Humboldt County Public Health. WinCo Foods immediately removed the meat in question from store shelves upon learning of the recall on December 23. Also on December 23, they posted signs within the store in Eureka indicating that the meat in question should be returned for exchange or refund. On December 24, the WinCo Foods corporate office spoke to national media about the recall and the fact that some of the meat may have gone to their stores.

The lot of meat that contained meat from the sick cow in Washington also contained meat from many other cows. The meat that came to Eureka was identified as extra lean ground beef, 14% maximum fat, for sale between December 15 and December 23, with label dates between December 17 and December 25, 2003. If anyone has any of this meat, it should not be consumed and should be returned to WinCo Foods for exchange or refund.

Illness has been caused in humans by eating nervous system material from affected animals resulting in a variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Research shows no evidence that muscle cuts or whole muscle meats from animals with BSE pose a risk to humans. The likelihood of acquiring vCJD from eating affected meat is extremely small.

Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854 (TTY: 1-800-256-7072). 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. The USDA media contact can be reached at (202) 720-9113 or (202) 720-4623.


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