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FDA Announces H-E-B Ice Cream Recall in Texas and Mexico Due to Potential Metal Foreign Object Contamination

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on May 1, 2024

H-E-B issued a voluntary recall on April 27, 2024 for select ice cream products due to the potential presence of metal foreign material contamination. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the formal announcement on April 29, 2024.

The H-E-B Ice Cream Recall

The H-E-B ice cream recall includes select code dates of H-E-B’s 12-count packages of their 3-ounce cups of Creamy Creations ice cream.

The following products are included in the H-E-B ice cream recall at this time:

  • 3-ounce H-E-B Creamy Creations Chocolate Ice Cream – 12 pack
    • UPC 4122062948
    • Code Dates:
      • 9/6/2024
      • 9/7/2024
      • 9/8/2024
      • 9/9/2024
      • 9/10/2024
      • 9/11/2024
      • 9/13/2024
      • 9/14/2024
    • 3-ounce H-E-B Creamy Creations Ice Cream Lime/Orange Combo – 12 pack
      • UPC: 4122081930
      • Code Dates:
        • 8/31/2024
        • 9/1/2024
        • 9/2/2024
        • 9/3/2024
      • 3-ounce H-E-B Creamy Creations Ice Cream Homemade/Chocolate Combo – 12 pack
        • UPC: 4122081931
        • Code Dates:
          • 9/11/2024
          • 9/12/2024
          • 9/13/2024
          • 9/14/2024
          • 9/15/2024
          • 9/16/2024
          • 9/17/2024
          • 9/18/2024
          • 9/19/2024
          • 9/20/2024
          • 9/21/2024

Check for product UPC and Code Dates on the back of the product’s outer bag. The individual cups do not have this information.

If you have discarded the outer bag, it is best to err on the side of caution and not consume it.

Affected products were distributed to all H-E-B stores in Texas and Mexico as well as Central Market, Joe V’s Smart Shop, and Mi Tienda stores.

Products Have Been Removed from Store Shelves

While products have been removed from store shelves, there is still a risk that affected products may be in consumers’ freezers.

Check your freezers for affected code dates.

No Injuries Reported for this H-E-B Ice Cream Recall So Far

There have been no reports of injuries or adverse effects related to this H-E-B ice cream recall so far.

Common injuries from hard or sharp foreign objects in food include traumatic injury, including laceration and perforation of tissues that may come in contact with the contaminant. This includes the mouth, tongue, throat, stomach, intestine, teeth, and gums.

Foreign Material Recalls Are on the Rise

Unfortunately, this H-E-B Ice Cream Recall is not the only foreign material recall in recent news. In fact, foreign material recalls are on the rise.

A study by Food Safety Net Services revealed that 75% of food recalled in 2019 was due to foreign material contamination.

This may be due to increased reporting and regulatory requirements that are bringing these issues to light.

Before 2010, recalls for foreign material contamination were so rare, the FDA didn’t collect data on the events. However, for the 2010 – 2012 period, food recalls for foreign contamination averaged 2.6%.

In 2012, around the same time the FDA mandated a new Reportable Food Registry, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) created a new rule. This rule required notifying the Agency within 24 hours if a food is potentially contaminated with foreign objects.

A few years later, the agency updated that rule to include notification of when a company receives consumer complaints of foreign material in USDA-regulated foods.

By 2016, extraneous and foreign material recalls made up 11% of FSIS recalls.

By 2017, this rose to 43% of all FSIS recalls.

Common Foreign and Extraneous Material Contamination

While the public may use the terms foreign material contamination and extraneous material contaminations interchangeably, from a regulatory standpoint, there are specific definitions.

A foreign material is described as a hard, sharp, pointed object. It is either longer than 25 mm10 or smaller than 7 mm. These are food safety hazards.

Extraneous material, on the other hand, is not considered a food safety hazard. It includes things like string, paper, mold, hair, insects, sand, and dirt.

The 12 most common foreign materials in foods (in no particular order) are:

  • Bone
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Stones
  • Insects
  • Jewelry
  • Needles
  • Insulation
  • Bullets/BB shot
  • Personal effects

Is This the Only Product to be Concerned About?

This recall is limited to a very specific packaging type. The 12-pack 3-ounce containers of 3 different variety packages. Currently, these are the only H-E-B Creamy Creations ice cream products subject to the recall.

But is this the only product to be concerned about?

Maybe. Maybe not.

While shopping at my local H-E-B on Monday, April 29, 2024, I noticed the H-E-B Creamy Creations section was very bare. This could be a coincidence. Or not.

Occasionally freezers require maintenance or are not in compliance with temperature requirements and must be unloaded or the product discarded. However, other non-H-E-B branded products were still placed in those freezers.

Could this be a sign of a larger issue? Possibly.

What Should I Do If I Consumed Recalled Product

If you or a family member have consumed recalled product, there may be risks for injury or adverse effects.

Monitor Symptoms

If you consumed recalled ice cream, you may have been exposed to metal contamination. Depending on the size of the foreign material, you may not have noticed the contaminant. Monitor for symptoms, such as pain or bleeding of the mouth, tongue, gums, or throat. If you experience pain or have bloody stools, contact your doctor right away.

Monitor children who may have consumed recalled products as well.

Retain Packaging

If you consumed a recalled product and became sick or observed contamination in a product not listed in the recall, retain packaging (both container and outer bag) for traceback investigation purposes. Important Code Date information on the packaging can help others.

Reach Out to a Food Poisoning Law Firm

If you or a family member have consumed products included in this H-E-B ice cream recall or another product and have been seriously injured, it is a good idea to reach out to a Foreign Objects Contamination Law Firm. An experienced Foreign Objects Contamination Lawyer, like The Lange Law Firm, PLLC can help you navigate the complicated legal process and help you get what you deserve.

The Lange Law Firm, PLLC has helped so many families recover from food liability cases.

Stay in Touch with Make Food Safe!

If you’d like to know more about food safety topics in the news, like These Are the Legionnaires’ Disease Symptoms to Look For!, check out the Make Food Safe Blog. We regularly update trending topics, foodborne infections in the news, recalls, and more! Stay tuned for quality information to help keep your family safe, while The Lange Law Firm, PLLC strives to Make Food Safe!

By: Heather Van Tassell (contributing writer, non-lawyer)