According to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the manufacturer is recalling frozen, fully cooked chicken nuggets (packaged and sold under the Applegate Naturals name) after several consumers reported finding tiny bits of plastic inside the product. No illnesses or injuries have been reported in connection with the contamination incident.
Applegate vice president of marketing Neil Leinwand told FoodProductionDaily the producer is a stickler for food quality and safety, at its facilities, and at processing and co-packing partners such as Perdue. Reports of contamination such as this involving Applegate products are few and far between.
"Applegate has strict quality standards and enforces those standards from the farm to store shelves," he said. "Applegate’s processors and co-packers separate our product and ingredients so that organic and antibiotic-free meat and conventionally raised meat are never combined; every step of the production process is monitored to ensure separation.
"Additionally, all meat and poultry plants have a USDA inspector on site to help verify plant procedures."
The problem was discovered after several consumers reported they had come across small pieces of plastic in the nuggets. However, none of the consumers making contact about the alleged contamination reported sustaining of injury or illness due to consumption of contaminated product.
The recall affects 8-ounce boxes of Applegate Natural Chicken Nuggets. The lot affected bears the establishment number P2617, and the “best before” date of 02/02/2015.
The products were manufactured at the Georgia-based producer’s processing plant on February 5, 2014. According to the FSIS report, the cartons of nuggets were shipped to and sold at retail locations across the US.
Representatives from Perdue and Applegate initiated the recall. The product has been scrubbed from retail shelves, but consumers have been alerted as they may still have the product at home in their freezers.