California company recalls beef contaminated with plastic

California company recalls beef contaminated with plastic

The United States Department of Agriculture sets very strict standards by which America's food products must adhere. Food must be accompanied by labels declaring its contents, health information and place of origin. Processed products must match label claims, and frozen foods must be kept at the proper temperature. Above all, food manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their food is clean and free of foreign contaminants when it reaches grocery store shelves.

The USDA believes this last provision was broken recently by the Central Valley Meat Company of Hanford, California. The company produces a large amount of meat each year, but a number of customers have recently been complaining about some of the ground beef it produced and shipped for the National School Lunch program.

According to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, a great deal of the beef produced by the Central Valley Meat Company may be contaminated with small pieces of inedible plastic. As a result, the Food Safety and Inspection Service is treating the beef as a dangerous product; it has issued a recall on 58,240 pounds of ground beef produced by the company.

The beef was shipped in 40 pound cases, each with four 10 chubs of ground beef. The affected products bear the USDA Mark of Inspection with the number "6063A" inside. Cases of the beef are marked with the numbers "6063A091A" or "6063A091B." The tainted beef was distributed to California, Arkansas, Texas and Montana. The beef was apparently intended to be eaten in schools.

So far, there are no reports of injuries or illness related to the meat, though the USDA has given the recall a Class I designation. Class I recalls are reserved for products that present a reasonable probability of serious injury or death among users. The USDA has stated that anyone with a health concern related to the contaminated ground beef should speak to a doctor immediately.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, "California Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products That May Contain Foreign Materials" Catherine Cochran, Sep. 19, 2013

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