In their third chicken recall this calendar year, Tyson Foods sheepishly announced that they must add 11 million pounds of chicken products to their previous recall announced just in March. As Bad Food Recall previously reported, Tyson pulled 70,000 pounds of prepared chicken strips from shelves over fears that they could be contaminated with shards of metal.
In January, the company announced its first recall of the year – the recall of a chicken nugget product due to concerns consumers would find small pieces of blue rubber in them. Now, two additional recalls has many consumers wondering whether or not to stay away from Tyson products altogether.
What is Going on with Tyson Foods?
A spokesperson for Tyson Foods indicated that the metal shard contamination is due to equipment in one facility. Their plan of action for this third recall in a calendar year is as follows:
- The company says they will discontinue use of the equipment associated with the metal shards found in food products.
- They will also be using a third-party video service to monitor for metal shard contamination.
- Tyson will replace the plant’s existing metal detection equipment with an x-ray device to test for metal fragments in their products.
In a deeply ironic statement the same spokesperson insisted that safety is the top priority of Tyson Foods. Furthermore, the spokesperson assured the public they will be taking steps to produce chicken products that uphold the company’s own expectations as well as the expectations of consumers.
How to Identify Products in the Expanded Chicken Recall
Consumers should be aware of the recalled product and avoid purchasing it. Further, if consumers already have purchased recalled products, they should return it for a refund.
Each of the products included in this chicken recall has the establishment number “P-7221” stamped on the package. Products included in this chicken recall include:
- Tyson brand fully cooked:
- Crispy chicken strips in 25 oz and 40 oz. bags;
- Buffalo-style chicken strips in 25 oz. and 40 oz. bags;
- Honey BBQ flavored chicken strips in 25 oz. bags;
- Best Choice Buffalo-style chicken strips in 20 oz. bags;
- Great Value fully cooked chicken strips in 25 oz. bags;
- Food Lion crispy chicken strips in 25 oz.
Please note the chicken products included in this chicken recall are not only Tyson brand chicken strips, but also Best Choice, Great Value, and Food Lion brands. Tyson facilities produced the items in this expanded chicken recall from October 2018 through March 2019. Products have “use by” dates of October 1, 2019, through March 7, 2020. The original recall of Tyson chicken strips applied only to products with the use by date of November 30, 2019.
Regulators Issue Warnings
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a warning to consumers saying it is almost certain that consumers who purchase Tyson products have potentially contaminated products in their freezers. The federal agency is urging consumers to throw away Tyson products that may be included in the recall. The contaminated products may also be returned to their place of purchase for a refund.
When checking your freezers for products included in this chicken recall be sure to check for store brand products as well. Tyson Foods is a nationwide poultry producer. Their facilities produce poultry not only under their own name brand, but also under various store brands including:
- Great Value – Sold at Wal-Mart
- Best Choice – Sold at grocery stores across the country
- Food Lion – A popular grocery store chain in the Southern U.S.
The Numbers of Reported Injuries Grow
At the time of the original chicken recall, Tyson Foods was responding to three reports of consumers who were injured due to shards of metal in their prepared chicken strip products. The company expanded the recall by 11 million pounds of chicken after three more consumers came forward. The additional three complaints all involved shards of metal found in a Tyson chicken product.
Three of the total six individuals who have found metal shards in Tyson chicken reported dental or mouth injuries after biting down on the metal in their food.
The Dangers of Foreign Material in Food
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the amount of foreign material American consumers should tolerate in food products. Foreign material found in food can refer to organic materials or to hard objects, such as bits of facility equipment. Tyson Foods has indicated the metal shards found in this chicken product came from the equipment in their facility.
All unexpected hard substances in ready-to-eat foods present a choking hazard as well as the risk of dental injury, but metal shards in food carry a unique and particularly dangerous set of risks.
Metal shards are usually sharp and can cause cuts to the mouth or throat.
Serious cuts to the mouth or throat can cause significant bleeding. These injuries may require stitches. Also, some injuries may necessitate vaccination or treatment for tetanus.
If swallowed, metal shards can cause cuts to the mucous membrane of the intestines.
These cuts can become infected with tetanus or other bacteria. Likewise, undigested food may irritate internal organs if the cuts are large enough to allow food to escape.
Very small fragments of metal contaminants can be absorbed by the body, and cause heavy metal poisoning.
Heavy metal poisoning can cause symptoms ranging from skin discoloration to cancer. Ingesting heavy metals in significant amounts can be somewhat difficult to diagnose and may cause death before its cause is discovered.
If your family has consumed any products included in this chicken recall, or if anyone in your family has felt unwell, seek medical attention. Also, be sure to inform your healthcare provider that heavy metal shards or metal poisoning is a concern.
Is X-Ray Detection Safe for Food?
An in-depth investigation by National Public Radio (NPR) indicates that the amount of radiation used during X-ray food screening does not pose a risk to the consumer who eats it. It is far more dangerous to consume food containing a hard contaminant than to consume food exposed to X-ray technology.
Learn More About the Chicken Recall Dangers from a Food Safety Attorney
Tyson Foods has sold contaminated food to the public for months, only issuing a chicken recall after three additional consumers found shards of metal in their products. How many consumers must be injured as a result of dangerous products before a recall is warranted?
Hopefully the steps Tyson is taking will keep consumers safe from contamination apparently characteristic of their products this year. There is no telling when American consumers’ trust in Tyson products will rebound, however.
Tyson Foods is one of America’s top poultry producers. The company sells chicken and poultry products under other brand names. It is best practice to be wary of all pre-cooked or processed poultry products until the concerns over metal shard contamination are safely resolved.
If someone in your family has experienced a dental injury, heavy metal poisoning, sickness, or any other injury associated with the ingestion of metal shards call Bad Food Recall now. Submit our online contact form if you have questions or want more information. You can also call 1-877-534-5750 to schedule a consultation with a food safety attorney.