Food Recall Resource

Poultry Industry Continues to Struggle with Food Contamination

Tyson Foods is recalling 39,078 pounds of chicken patty products in what seems like a string of food contamination problems for the company.  This is just one of many recalls involving contamination with foreign materials or bacteria that the poultry industry has battled this year.  Read on to learn more about the recall and how to keep your family safe.

Tyson Recalls Chicken Patties Due to Food Contamination

Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food producers.  The company’s troubles with food contamination have been in the headlines more than once this year.  This time, the product subject to recall is Weaver brand Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat.

Consumers can identify the product by the following:

  • 26-ounce resealable plastic bags
  • Recalled lots are marked with the code P-13456
  • Recalled lots have a use-by date of January 31, 2020

The problem with the product in this recall is foreign matter contamination.  Consumers report finding pieces of extraneous rubber material in the chicken patties.  A spokesperson for Tyson commented that the rubber may have come from pieces of processing equipment, such as a seal or gasket.

The company insists the reports of contamination are “limited.” They also point out that they have received no reports of injuries or illnesses in connection with the contaminated chicken product.  Regardless, the company issued its fifth large-scale recall this year.

The Potential Impact to Consumers

Despite Tyson’s statements assuring the public that the recall is only a precautionary measure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking the matter seriously.  The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) classifies this recall as a Class I recall, meaning the risk is serious.  The FSIS uses the Class I designation to indicate a “high” health risk to consumers.

Tyson produced the products in this recall on January 31, 2019 and distributed them to shipping hubs in Missouri, New York, Vermont, Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.  Since the product has not passed its expiration date, the FSIS is concerned that consumers may still have the product in their homes.

If you buy Weaver brand chicken patties, be sure to check your freezer for the codes above.  That information will tell you whether the bag you have is included in the recall.  If it is, return it to the place of purchase or discard it.  The USDA recommends that anyone who encounters foreign material or is concerned about injury should contact their healthcare provider.

Tyson’s Year of Food Contamination

Since January, 2019 Tyson has released a series of recalls due to foreign material contaminants in its poultry products.  Bad Food Recall has alerted consumers to the following food contamination risks:

  • January – Tyson recalled more than 35,000 pounds of chicken nuggets that were possibly contaminated with rubber.
  • March – Tyson issued a recall of 70,000 pounds of fully-cooked chicken tenders due to contamination with metal shards.
  • May – Tyson expanded the recall for metal shard-contaminated products to include 11 million pounds of chicken products.
  • June – Tyson issued a comparatively small recall of about 3,000 pounds of frozen breaded chicken that was possibly contaminated with blue and clear soft plastic.

An Uptick in Food Contamination

There has been such a worrisome increase in the number of food contamination recalls that the USDA now offers a draft handbook to help food producers respond to complaints about adulterated products.

Though the majority of food recalls are prompted by contamination with pathogens like listeria, E. coli, salmonella, or the presence of  undisclosed allergens, a small but persistent minority of food recalls occur because of foreign matter contamination.   In recent years the most common contaminants have been industrial products.  Usually this means something slipped into the food during a mechanized assembly process, such as:

  • Metal shavings
  • Glass fragments
  • Hard plastic
  • Rubber bushing fragments

Between 2016 and 2018,  potential foreign matter contamination accounted for more than 18 percent of recalls managed by the USDA.  Between 2014 and 2015, recalls for this reason were only about seven percent of the total.  Think about it this way:

  • In 2014 there were six foreign matter recalls
  • There were 12 in 2015
  • Each year since totals more than 20
  • The year with the most foreign matter recalls was 2017 with a total of 25

It seems likely that 2019 may possibly outpace 2017 in the number of these gruesome recalls.  All on its own, Tyson Foods is responsible for five foreign matter food contamination recalls so far this year.

A Meat and Poultry Problem

Food contamination with foreign material appears most often in the meat and poultry industries.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates more than 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, but does not regulate meat and poultry.  Between 2016 and 2018, FDA foreign matter recalls accounted for less than nine percent of the total number they managed.

What to Do if You Find Foreign Material in Food

Press releases and safety alerts often claim that the likelihood of a consumer encountering an adulterant in their food is very remote.  The reality is, however, that a sufficient number of consumers must complain before the company undertakes an expensive recall.

Here at Bad Food Recall, we feel it is best for consumers to have a plan.  Here are some tips for what to do if you or a family member encounter bits of rubber, metal shards or pieces of glass in the food you are eating.

  • Seek medical attention if you suffer injury, or if you swallow the contaminant.
  • Call the USDA hotline, especially if the food you’re eating is meat or poultry.  You can also file a complaint with the USDA online.
  • Report your findings to the company that produced the food. Be aware that companies like Tyson have no obligation to have customer complaint or food safety hotlines.
  • You may consider turning to social media to make your complaint. Many large companies respond to customer complaints more quickly via Facebook and Twitter than by phone or email.
  • If you seek medical care for illness or injury from food contamination, make an appointment with a food safety attorney.

How to Reach a Food Safety Attorney

With every new recall prompted by food contamination, Tyson has been quick to point out that the company is exercising an abundance of caution.  Furthermore, they claim they are doing everything possible to keep consumers safe.  After the fifth such statement, however, claims of that nature begin to fall flat.  Consumers may rightly question whether the food production giant truly has their best interests at heart.

If you or someone you love is injured due to food contamination, contact Bad Food Recall.  You have rights as a consumer, and may be able to pursue legal action if your injury has resulted in medical bills or lost income.  Schedule a consultation with a food safety attorney to find out.

Contact us by calling toll free at 1-877-534-5750, or fill out our online form to get started.



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