Perdue Food’s recall of more than 30,000 pounds of organic chicken products is the latest in a string of FDA recalls so far this year targeting poultry. Chicken producers seem to be struggling with keeping adulterants out of their food. Consequently, chicken producers have recalled tens of millions of pounds of poultry products this year. This most recent recall relates to bone fragments potentially contaminating ready-to-eat products.
The Perdue Recall
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered the contamination of ready-to-eat chicken products after receiving reports of consumers discovering pieces of bone in Perdue products. Perdue Foods also received several reports of unexpected hard materials in ready-to-eat products. As a result, and out of “an abundance of caution”, Perdue voluntarily initiated this recall.
Perdue Foods produced the contaminated chicken products in March 2019, and distributed them nationwide. The FSIS is concerned that consumers may still have potentially dangerous products in their homes.
How to Identify the Recalled Perdue Chicken
The products subject to this recall were all made and shipped from the same facility. Likewise, all of the packages of possibly contaminated chicken will have EST. P-369 inside the USDA inspection mark. The recall includes the following products:
- 2 oz packages of Perdue Simply Smart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders – Gluten Free with a use-by date of May 20, 2019.
- 12 oz packages of Perdue Simply Smart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets – Whole Grain with a use-by date of May 20, 2019.
- 12 oz packages of Perdue Simply Smart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Strips – Whole Grain with a use-by date of May 20, 2019.
- 10 lb boxes of Chef Quik Breaded Chicken Tenders Boneless Tender Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat. Sold in bulk with a case code 22143 on the label.
- 10 lb boxes of Chef Quik Chicken Breast Strips Strip Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat. Sold in bulk with a case code 77265 on the label.
Anyone who is concerned about their health because of these recalled products should seek medical attention. Consumers who have purchased these products, but have not used them, can return them to the place of purchase for a refund.
A Year of FDA Recalls
Consumers who love to eat chicken are hard-pressed this year to find a company that hasn’t recalled poultry products. In fact, many of the FDA recalls this year have been for the same reason cited in this new Perdue Foods recall. That is, many chicken products pulled from the market have been contaminated with unexpected foreign materials.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the FDA recalls associated with chicken this year:
- January 2019: Tyson Foods recalled more than 36,000 pounds of breaded chicken products contaminated with bits of rubber.
- January 2019: Perdue Foods recalls 16,000 Fun Shapes Refrigerated Chicken Breast Nuggets due to labeling concerns. Labels did not disclose a milk allergen on the package.
- March 2019: Tyson Foods pulled 70,000 pounds of prepared chicken due to metal contamination.
- May 2019: Tyson Foods recalled 11 million pounds of chicken as a result of contamination with metal shards.
Is Mechanized Food Production to Blame for FDA Recalls?
The common denominator of all these recalled poultry products is they are all processed and packaged on a mechanized line in a food production plant. It seems that nearly all of the food available for purchase in grocery stores comes to consumers via some form of mechanization. There are considerable benefits to the mechanization of modern food production including driving prices down, efficiency, and massive production capacity.
The drawbacks to mechanization is that it seems to increase the frequency of foreign matter contaminants. Mechanization takes away the human element of quality assurance and forces consumers to rely on the spot checks of food safety inspectors to approve products that will eventually wind up in their homes.
In fact, a group of doctors sued the USDA in April, 2019 alleging some of the agency’s approved mechanization processes for poultry production are so ruthlessly efficient that they compromise food quality in an unacceptable way.
FDA Regulation of Foreign Object Contaminants
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only concerns itself with foreign objects in food larger than 7 mm. The agency considers smaller particles to be acceptable because most healthy adults would be able to swallow them without injury.
The FDA considers particles larger than 7 mm to be adulterants and regulates the acceptable amount that can be present in food before the agency issues a safety warning or approaches a company about a recall.
Some of the most common food adulterants reported to the FDA each year include:
- Animal droppings
- Parts of machinery
Why Food Adulterants are Dangerous
Even with regulations and inspections, FDA recalls do not always eliminate the danger of adulterated food. Apart from being simply unappealing, a foreign object in food is dangerous and potentially deadly. Around 1,500 people in the U.S. die each year from choking on foreign objects found in food. Other serious injuries reported each year include:
- Dental injury
- Rupture of the esophagus
- Rupture of a gastrointestinal organ
Many people who unexpectedly encounter an adulterant in food may require surgical removal of the object or surgical repair of damaged organs.
How to Avoid Injury from Foreign Matter in Food
The chicken products Perdue recently recalled are ready-to-eat products. Ready-to-eat products are designed to be easy to prepare and consume, even on the go. Popping food in your mouth on the go can be dangerous if you encounter a large chunk of bone or unexpected material. The surprise itself may be enough to choke you regardless of the size of the contaminant.
Try these tips to detect food adulterants before they hurt you:
- Sit down to eat a meal whenever possible
- Look at all ready-to-eat foods before you eat them
- When snacking, pour out a portion into a dish instead of eating from a bag or container
- Cut food into pieces for small children
- Stay up-to-date on FDA recalls. Do not consume any food suspected of containing contaminants.
Learn More about FDA Recalls and Your Rights
Certainly, no one prepares a meal for their family with the expectation of foreign objects being part of the menu. Sadly, foreign objects seem to be an increasing part of processed foods, which is endangering consumers.
If you have been injured as a result of a foreign object in something you ate, you may have a claim against the manufacturer or distributor for your injuries. Food producers can be held liable for injuries sustained by consumers. This liability is not dependent on FDA recalls.
To find out more about your rights as a consumer, contact Bad Food Recall today. Call 1-877-534-5750 to request a free consultation. You may also reach us via our online form.