Citing safety concerns, Tyson recalls 18 tons of chicken nuggets

The USDA says small bits of rubber were found in some products. Tyson says no one has been hurt or sickened and that the move stems from an ‘abundance of caution.’

Some customers were shocked by what was in their chicken nuggets—little pieces of blue rubber.

After several complaints, Tyson announced a recall of the panko-crusted nuggets, some 36,420 pounds’ worth. The company says no one has been hurt or fallen ill, but it is performing the recall just to be extra safe.

Tyson announced the recall on Twitter:

The USDA has labeled the recall a “high priority,” a classification reserved for high-risk items.

It wrote :

The problem was discovered when the establishment received consumer complaints of extraneous material in purchased Panko Chicken Nugget products. FSIS was notified on Jan. 29, 2019.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

It explained its classification in a chart at the bottom of its release.

Class I: This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

There is concern about risks for children consuming the nuggets.

Slate wrote :

With chicken nuggets, it’s fairly difficult to install failsafe measures to filter out extraneous material that makes its way into the meat slurry. Magnets won’t be too helpful in attracting pieces of rubber or plastic, and the slurry can’t easily pass through fine mesh filters.

Whether or not a broken piece of equipment falling into a product causes illness depends on the size and firmness of the material. If the material is soft, it shouldn’t cause issues. However, large and rigid materials, such as plastic, can puncture the intestinal tract. Children are especially at risk of becoming sickened by larger debris that may stray into food products.

Tyson has tried to downplay the extent of the contamination.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported :

Tyson Foods said consumers contacted the company after they found small pieces of soft, blue rubber in the nuggets. The company said that rubber was found in a “very small number” of packages, but that it decided to recall 36,420 pounds of product “out of an abundance of caution.”

The products were shipped to retail locations nationwide, although it is unclear which ones. They were produced on Nov. 26, 2018, and have a best-used-by date of Nov. 26, 2019, according to the USDA. Officials said consumers who have bought the products and frozen them should either return or throw them away.

Tyson says the extraneous material comes from processing machines that have worn down.

The Washington Post reported :

The company said rubber is part of a seal on an equipment used to produce the nuggets, and some pieces were accidentally mixed with the product.

However, Tyson did not respond to all its media requests.

Slate was left to speculate :

How does rubber keep finding its way into nuggets?

Probably from pieces of rubber or plastic breaking off food processing equipment. Only employees at Tyson would know exactly what happened in this case, and the company did not respond to Slate’s request for comment.

Absent any remarks from Tyson reps, Slate turned to outside industry experts to explain the recall. Despite the accuracy of their conjecture, it was a missed opportunity for Tyson to demonstrate its care, concern and expertise in responding to the incident.

The USDA and others shared the recall news on social media:

Some decried corporate mismanagement:

Some despaired about never enjoying their favorite chicken product again:

Others seemed less fazed:

Still others were fascinated by the social media snark surrounding the incident:

What do you think of Tyson’s response, PR Daily readers?

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