Major poultry producer Tyson Foods, Inc. has issued a chicken recall of almost 70,000 pounds of prepared chicken strips. This recall comes just two months after their last high-profile recall. This particular chicken recall is getting a lot of attention not only for its close succession to the last recall, but also because of the reason products are being pulled from store shelves.
According to a news release from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumers have reported finding pieces of metal in the fully-cooked chicken strips. Numerous consumers have contacted the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) about their gruesome discovery.
Metal Fragments in Tyson Products
Tyson has not disclosed any theory about how pieces of metal came to be found in their ready-to-eat chicken products, but it appears to be an unbelievably common occurrence in food production. Contaminants like E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella may get all the splashy news coverage, but metal fragment contamination in produced food is far from rare.
Time Magazine, for example, reported in 2015 of around a half dozen similar instances citing metal contaminants found in food products ranging from meat to bagged ice, macaroni and cheese to breakfast cereal. The ever-increasing mechanization of food production is mostly to blame because faulty machines can break apart and leave unappetizing and dangerous parts behind in food products.
Which Tyson Products are Part of this Chicken Recall?
Produced in a plant in Rogers, Arkansas, Tyson shipped the contaminated chicken to distribution centers in Texas, Arkansas, Connecticut, and New York as well as dozens of other states. Some of the recalled products were also sold to retailers and correctional facilities in 20-lb boxes. The FSIS will publish a full list of all states where the contaminated Tyson products have been shipped when it completes its investigation.
In the meantime, consumers nationwide should be vigilant for these potentially dangerous poultry products. Tyson has been distributing the recalled products since the production date of November 26, 2018. The company did not announce the chicken recall until March 21, 2019.
The FDA is concerned that these contaminated products are in consumer freezers, and may be consumed without consumers being aware of the danger. This chicken recall has been labeled a Class I, which is the most urgent class of recall indicating probable danger to consumers. If you have any of the recalled products in your home, throw it away or return it to wherever you purchased it. Do not consume it.
The recalled chicken is packaged as follows:
- 25-oz plastic bag of frozen “Tyson Fully Cooked Buffalo Style Chicken Strips Chicken Breast Strip Fritters with Rib Meat and Buffalo Style Sauce” with “Best if Used by Nov 30 2019,” case codes 3348CNQ0317 and 3348CNQ0318, and individual bag timestamps from 17:00 to 18:59 hours.
- 25-oz plastic bag packages of frozen “Tyson Fully Cooked Crispy Chicken Strips Chicken Breast Strip Fritters with Rib Meat” with “Best if Used by Nov 30 2019,” case codes 3348CNQ0419, 3348CNQ0420, 3348CNQ0421, and 3348CNQ0422, and individual bag timestamps from 19:00 to 22:59 hours
- 20-lb cases of frozen “Spare Time Fully Cooked, Buffalo Style Chicken Strips Chicken Breast Fritters with Rib Meat and Buffalo Style Sauce.” with “Best if Used by 30 2019,” and case code 3348CNQ03.
All of the contaminated product packaging has the same establishment code, “P7221”. All of the chicken potentially containing metal fragments originated from the Rogers, Arkansas plant on the same production date.
An Isolated Incident?
Tyson representatives told the New York Times that they believe this chicken recall to be an “isolated matter”. But is it really? Tyson issued an eerily similar recall in January. In that chicken recall, consumers found bits of soft, blue rubber in another prepared chicken product – 5-lb bags of “Tyson White Meat Panko Chicken Nuggets” marked with case code “3308SDL03” and timestamps 23:00 to 01:59.
Though distributed from a different facility, Tyson also produced this contaminated chicken in November 2018. It was available for purchase until January 29, 2019. Also shipped nationwide, it is very possible this chicken product and its rubbery contaminants are also lurking in home freezers. This chicken recall was also a Class I recall, indicating a high risk of injury if consumed.
Dangers of Metal Fragment Contamination
The FDA is very concerned about consumer safety because metal fragment contamination can cause serious injury. Consuming metal fragments can cause:
- Broken teeth or other dental problems
- Lacerations of the mouth or throat
- Cuts to the mucous membrane of the intestines
- Very tiny fragments can be absorbed by the body and result in heavy metal poisoning
Any of these injuries have the potential to be traumatic and result in a heavy financial burden for the consumer unlucky enough to ingest metal fragments. Of most dangerous and even possibly deadly concern, however, is the rare occurrence of heavy metal poisoning from the absorption of tiny particles.
The symptoms of heavy metal poisoning vary depending on exactly which kind of metal has poisoned the body. Symptoms can range from fatigue to skin discoloration to cancer. If you or your loved ones have ingested any of the products in Tyson’s most recent chicken recall, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention for any symptoms of injury, illness, or possible heavy metal poisoning.
Tyson has not released any information with regard to the size or content of the metal fragments found in the recalled products. The swift decisive action by the FDA indicates the potential for harm to consumers is great. Though there is no way to anticipate exactly what kind of harm these metal fragments may cause, it is certain these contaminated products are dangerous.
Consult with a Food Contamination Attorney
No one should have to worry about foreign material in their food. As a household name, Tyson has betrayed the trust of American consumers twice already this year. Should anyone be injured or become ill due to contaminated Tyson products, the company must be held accountable.
If this chicken recall has harmed a member of your family, you have rights and may be eligible for compensation if you incurred any medical expenses related to your injuries. Contact Bad Food Recall to learn more about your rights. Our food safety attorneys have a reputation for aggressively defending the rights of our clients.