Oklahoma-based OK Food, Inc., which produces ready-to-eat-chicken including Wal-Mart's Great Value brand, issued a recall of nearly 1 million pounds of its breaded chicken following reports from consumers of metal objects found inside the meat.
Inspection at the processing plant revealed that the objects were from a metal conveyor belting. No case of injury or illness from eating the product has been reported so far but five customers have filed complaints.
"The problem was discovered on March 21, 2017 after OK Foods Inc. received five consumer complaints stating that metal objects were found in the ready-to-eat chicken products and by FSIS inspection personnel during verification activities," the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said in a statement.
It isn't the first time that a foreign object has been found inside food. Several food companies have also issued recalls because of potentially dangerous foreign objects that are in (or possibly got into) their food products.
Glass fragments appear to commonly contaminate and pose potential safety concerns for packaged food and beverage products. In January this year, for instance, glass hazards prompted one of the largest craft brewers in the United States to issue a recall of some of its bottled beer. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., recalled the products as a precautionary measure because the packaging flaw can potentially cause injury to its consumers.
In April last year, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers that there may be shards of glass in 8-ounce jars of All Nice! sliced peaches and mixed fruits that were distributed at Walgreens store. The contaminants could cut or injure consumers if ingested.
Sweet Leaf Tea Company also recalled bottles of tea products in 2015 over concerns that a glass breakage incident that occurred during a filling process may have entered some of the bottled products.
In November 2015, Campbell Soup Company also recalled some of its SpaghettiOs Original cans because the affected products have tiny red plastic pieces inside it. The plastic pieces came from some parts of the can's lining.
A month prior to Campbell's recall, Hormel Foods also announced removing some of its Skippy peanut butter from store shelves because of the possibility that some jars have small metal shavings that were detected through a magnet check during routine cleaning.
Huisken Meat Company also recalled some of its Sam's Choice Black Angus Vidalia Onion items over concerns that they have wood materials that came from an ingredient and was found during production.
Between 1972 and 1997, the Health Hazard Evaluation Board of the FDA evaluated about 190 cases of sharp or hard foreign objects in food. While these objects pose risks, certain objects rarely cause serious damage.
"The Board found that foreign objects that are less than 7 mm, maximum dimension, rarely cause trauma or serious injury except in special risk groups such as infants, surgery patients, and the elderly," the FDA said. "Hard or sharp natural components of a food ( e.g. bones in seafood, shell in nut products) are unlikely to cause injury."