The latest in a long line of food recalls means it’s time to check your freezer. This time, the danger isn’t salmonella or E. Coli. It’s wood, a less menacing but still potentially dangerous contagion. Last Thursday, Perdue Foods, the Perry, Georgia-based food giant, announced a nationwide voluntary recall of approximately 68,244 pounds of chicken nuggets. The announcement was prompted by three separate consumer complaints that wood was found in them.
The nuggets in question can be found in 49,632 22-ounce bags of frozen Perdue SimplySmart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets. They were produced in October and have a “best if used by” date of 10/25/19. The UPC printed next to the bar code is 72745-80656. The establishment number “P-33944” is printed inside the USDA mark of inspection. If you have a bag that matches these criteria you should throw it away, return it to the store, or contact Perdue at 877-727-3447 for a full refund.
The recall is a Class I recall, the most severe designation, defined as “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.” Thankfully, no adverse health effects have been reported to date. The USDA recommends that those who’ve ingested the nuggets and are concerned for their health reach out to a physician.
Frozen foods present a recall challenge separate from those for fresh ingredients like dairy and produce. The reason: more time can elapse between purchase and consumption, time in which people aren’t necessarily thinking about what’s in their freezer and could be less vigilant about discarding recalled foods.
Despite the ongoing government shutdown, some USDA functions within priority areas continue, including certain food inspections and recall announcements. However, the agency has not announced how the wood got into the nuggets or how those nuggets made it through the USDA inspection process.