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Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. is recalling 5,522 pounds of beef tongues and J.F. O'Neill Packing Co. is recalling 33,000 pounds of tongues because tonsils may not have been completely removed in keeping with federal rules intended to reduce the risk of human exposure to “mad cow” disease, government officials said.

There is no indication that the cattle from which the tongues came were infected with deadly mad cow, which is formally known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE. Both recalls are Class II, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture characterizes as posing a “low” risk to health because “this is a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.”


The tongues from the Milwaukee-based Cargill plant were shipped to distribution centers in Illinois for further sale, the company indicated. Omaha, Neb.-based J.F. O’Neill indicated that its recalled products were shipped primarily to distribution centers in Nebraska and California for further sale to restaurants, hotels and institutions.


USDA rules require the removal of tonsils in cattle of all ages because they are considered a specified risk material, or SRM. SRMs are tissues known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with BSE, as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues.


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