Food manufacturing company National Steak and Poultry announced on Sunday, Dec. 4, the recall of nearly 2 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products.
Reason For The Recall
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that the products affected may have been undercooked which makes it possible that they contain bacteria.
The problem was discovered on Nov. 14 after a food service customer complained that the chicken appeared undercooked. Additional products were recalled after another customer made the same complaint.
Dangers Of Consuming Undercooked Meat
Among the pathogens commonly associated with raw or undercooked chicken are Campylobacter and Salmonella. These foodborne-illness-causing pathogens are fairly common but can potentially lead to serious health consequences.
Symptoms of illnesses caused by these bacteria include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. In rare cases, both of these pathogens can cause long-term health problems such as arthritis.
Listeria may also be present in undercooked chicken. This bacterial contaminant is able to grow in lower temperatures and even inside the refrigerator.
Although cooking meat products to the right temperature may get rid of the harmful bacteria, there is danger when it comes to ready-to-eat products because consumers tend to not always cook them or handle them as if they are raw.
"If I'm told that I don't need to cook it, then I'm less likely to cook it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit [which kills bacteria], because it's marketed to me as you don't actually have to," North Carolina State University food safety specialist Benjamin Chapman said. "If it looks like it's ready to eat, I'm likely not going to handle it, as a consumer, as stringently, as I would a non-ready to eat meat product."
The USDA said that no health problems linked to the recalled chicken products have yet been reported. Consumers who purchased the recalled meat products are advised to throw them away.
The USDA said that the affected products were produced between Aug. 20 and Nov. 30 this year and were directly sold to consumers.
"The cases containing the products subject to recall bear establishment number "P-6010T" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to food service locations nationwide and were sold directly to retail consumers at the establishments' monthly dock sale," the USDA wrote on its website.
Affected products include boneless chicken cubes, chicken breast fajita strips and chicken breast strips with rib meat. The USDA website has the complete list of recalled products.