Conagra Brands Inc, has announced a frozen food recall. Based out of Russellville Arkansas, Conagra is recalling more than two million pounds of frozen P.F. Chang’s frozen entrée products. The frozen food recall follows the discovery that an ingredient identified as an allergen did not appear on the ingredients label. By the time the company noticed the labeling error, the products were already in retail stores.
Routine Safety Inspection Prompts Frozen Food Recall
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Conagra conducts routine label verification checks for their products. It was during one of these routine checks that the company found milk had been left off the ingredient label for chicken Pad Thai and chicken fried rice products. Milk is a known allergen that presents real danger to many Americans and should always be disclosed on food labels.
Making this discovery only after more than two million pounds of these frozen entrees were available for sale in retail stores, the company had no choice but to recall the product.
How to Identify Products in the Frozen Food Recall
Neither the USDA nor Conagra have released a specific number of packages of frozen food involved in this recall. Because of the information they have provided, it is safe to estimate that between 1 and 1.5 million frozen entrees have been recalled.
Here are the specifics about the mislabeled frozen food:
- The recall applies specifically to P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Chicken Pad Thai and Chicken Fried Rice.
- Production dates are between Oct. 1, 2018 and April 11, 2019.
- The packages have “best by” dates of Sept. 26, 2019 through April 5, 2020.
- Each package is marked with establishment number “EST. P-115”.
- Conagra shipped the frozen entrees in this recall to retail locations nationwide.
Consumers should note that this recall does not apply to any food sold in P.F. Chang’s restaurants. The products included in the frozen food recall may be sold in a variety of retail stores, however.
What to Do if You Purchased a Recalled Product
Because the frozen entrees subject to this recall have production dates over such a long span of time, the FSIS is very concerned that consumers already have purchased recalled products. Additionally, there is a great likelihood that some stores are still removing the recalled products. Though the product does not necessarily pose any danger to consumers who are not allergic to dairy, the FSIS is nonetheless urging not to consume recalled products. The products may also be returned to their place of purchase.
The FSIS expects to publish a retail distribution list in the coming days to update consumers about where this recalled product was available for sale.
No Reports of Adverse Effects Yet
Hopefully, Conagra’s self-regulation and swift action in issuing this frozen food recall was sufficient to prevent any consumers with milk allergies from suffering harm. At this time, the USDA has not received any reports of consumers with dairy allergies being harmed.
This frozen food recall is not Conagra’s first recall of P.F. Chang’s products, nor is it the company’s first recall this year. Conagra recalled quite a few of their chicken and rice products in March 2019. Conagra also recalled P.F. Chang’s products in 2016 over concerns the frozen entrees may have contained small metal shards.
Food Recalls Should Not be Taken Lightly
Though there have not yet been any reports of injuries or illness associated with this frozen food recall, the USDA classified this recall as a Class I recall. A Class I recall indicates a health hazard situation in which the federal agency believes there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product in question could cause serious injury or even death.
In the case of this recall, an undisclosed milk allergen is a very serious danger. A milk allergy is distinct from lactose intolerance because an allergy is the body’s immune reaction to milk and products containing milk. According to the Mayo Clinic, a milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children.
For most people, the allergic reaction usually occurs immediately after consuming the milk or the milk product. Consequently, if someone with a milk allergy were to have consumed a product in this frozen food recall, their allergic reaction could range from a minor inconvenience to a potentially fatal reaction.
Reactions to food allergies can intensify at any time. Therefore, consumers with mild food allergies may be in a considerable amount of danger from unknowingly consuming products containing milk.
Symptoms Associated with Milk Allergy
Immediate symptoms of a milk allergy can be quite severe and may include:
- Itching or tingling feeling around the lips or mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- Shortness of breath
- Anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition
Some milk allergy sufferers may experience symptoms that take a few hours to develop, such as:
- Digestive problems
- Abdominal cramps
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
The only treatment for a milk allergy is to avoid milk and products containing milk. That is why the USDA requires food producers to disclose known allergens on their food labels. People who live with food allergies know to check food labels very carefully to protect themselves from consuming an allergen that could endanger their life. However, when a company fails to include an allergen on the label, consumers with food allergies could potentially consume a product that could end their life.
Anaphylaxis: The Reason an Undisclosed Allergen May be Deadly
The USDA takes labeling food for allergens very seriously because food allergies can cause anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction in which the victim’s airways narrow. As a result, the victim experiences difficulty breathing, or may stop breathing altogether. After peanuts and tree nuts, milk is the most common food that causes an anaphylactic reaction when consumed.
Anaphylaxis should be treated as a medical emergency because it can certainly prove to be fatal. The symptoms of anaphylaxis will start almost immediately after consuming milk and include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Constricted Airways, including a swollen throat
- A flushed face
- A swift drop in blood pressure, which can lead to shock
A Frozen Food Recall and Your Legal Rights
To their credit, Conagra performed self-regulating inspections and issued this frozen food recall before there were any reports of allergic reactions, sickness, or death. The swiftness of the recall may provide consumers with some degree of peace of mind. However, despite working with federal agencies to spread the word about the undisclosed allergen, the possibility remains that someone with a milk allergy could still suffer serious injury.
If you or someone you love has suffered a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis as a result of consuming a recalled frozen food product, Bad Food Recall attorneys can help. Our food safety attorneys can help you learn more about your legal rights as a consumer. Contact us today to find out more. Call 1-877-534-5750 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.