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Things are off to a rough start in 2019. This is the second recall this month, but I am hopeful things will turn around. It is important that we get this information to you as soon as we can in considering the impacts this might have on you and your families and friends. I say this because I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to be informed, but to also inform those around you. So take this information and share it with as many as you can.
On Thursday the 17th, Perdue Farms recalled approximately 68,244 pounds of ready-to-eat organic chicken nuggets. The official press release, found here, states that the product could be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically wood.
Three different consumers contacted Perdue Farms and one called the FSIS customer complaint line, leading to the complete recall.
The product being recalled:
22-oz. Plastic bag packages of frozen “PERDUE SimplySmart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BRET NUGGETS GLUTEN FREE” with “Best By: Date 10/25/19” and UPC Bar Code “72745-80656” represented on the label.
If you eat or have purchased this item, you need to stop reading and check what you have to see if the UPC Code matches. I will wait.
Now that you have checked, here is what you need to do:
It goes without saying but under no circumstances are you to consume this product. “There have been no adverse reactions due to consumption” but why take the risk?
There is a lot of information to take in when reading about a recall. Between products, UPC codes, health risks, and the official report; even I have to read them over to get it all. I would challenge us all to take you time, read over the recall, take a look at the actual PDF of the package and make sure you understand all the information. One of the most important pieces of information is the classes of recalls. Let’s do a brief rundown. These classes were originated by the FDA to ensure the public understands the severity of each recall. I tend to lean towards the “I’m just going to throw it out no matter what” mentality.
As you can see, there is little wiggle room here so take great care when there is a recall on something you have purchased.
Recalls are initiated by manufacturer or the USDA. Unfortunately, most recalls begin when a consumer has already eaten the product and notices something is wrong or becomes ill. Even though most recalls happen later than we would all like, it is important to note the agencies involved (CDC, FDA, USDA, and FSIS – depending on who is needed) react as quickly as they can. The policies and procedures for recalls have been set in place in order to stop the product the fastest way possible.
After a recall is initiated, a preliminary investigation happens. Collecting information, food samples, speaking with personnel and documentation are vital to understanding what happened so it will not happen again.
Visiting this USDA site regularly can keep you informed as to ongoing recalls as they happen. Obviously, checking in with our updates is also necessary.
Foreign Material in Food
A recall can happen for a number of reasons. This one just happens to be due to wood being found by four different consumers. When we talk about foreign materials in food, it is important to understand the FDA has what they term “defect levels” that are present in all foods already. These “levels” are the things we as consumers do not want to think about: insects, hairs, mold, ash, and even bacteria. To be honest, there is no way to remove everything from our food; even when we try our best to clean it at home.
Be careful here. Just because there is a “level” for food set by the FDA does not mean manufacturers follow these guidelines. As we have seen with this latest recall, foreign materials can and do make their way into our food.
On a good note, manufacturers use GMP’s (Good Manufacturing Practices) as a kind of check and balance to ensure our food is as safe as it can be. One of the practices that has been changing over the years is the use of wooden pallets. Moving to a plastic pallet makes the possibility of wood mixing in with a product. A few other GMP include: glass and plastic programs, preventative maintenance, pest management, personal hygiene, and building maintenance.
Foreign materials in food (at least to some degrees) are normal. Recalls happen when the norm is broken. I found it frustrating the lack of information on what happens to companies after there is a recall. If you would like to hear more about this I would be happy to investigate farther.
It is never desirable to have foreign materials in our food. We have come to accept and understand that some small part of this has been deemed okay by food producers. It is encouraging to know food manufacturers are being proactive in making our food safer.
Now that another recall has hit the mainstream it is important for us as consumers to stay informed. If you have any of the above mentioned products, take the necessary steps and precautions to get rid of it. Please do not take a chance and eat or serve recalled food.
Along those same lines, I believe we have a responsibility to the people we know. Utilize social media. Share this and other pieces of information you find so we can get the word out to as many people as we can.
By: Dwight Spencer, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)