If You Have This Meat in Your Fridge, Do Not Eat It, USDA Says in New Warning


Whether you're grilling up burgers for a summer get-together, putting together a pot roast, or making a cold-cut sandwich, you're likely consuming meat in the majority of your meals. Most people know that storing, handling, and preparing animal products requires extra special care due to the higher likelihood of food-borne illnesses that can come from eating anything that's not cooked properly—especially if it's contaminated with harmful microorganisms. But if you've recently gone shopping and stocked up on any meat, you may want to double check whether you picked up one brand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says you shouldn't eat right now. Read on to see which product poses a potential safety problem.

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Companies can recall meat products for a wide variety of reasons.

Food recalls can happen for any number of health or safety reasons. In the case of meat products, processing can make them especially prone to certain issues, as evidenced by a few recent instances.

On Aug. 18, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert concerning multiple ground beef products made by Hawaii Big Island Beef. The move came after the agency discovered the products could be contaminated with dangerous E. coli O157:H7 bacteria during an assessment of the company's production records. In its notice, FSIS said it was concerned that consumers could still have the product in their freezers and urged them not to eat them.

On Aug. 23, the agency issued another public health alert for Perdue frozen ready-to-eat (RTE) "gluten-free" chicken breast tenders. In this case, the company warned that the product could be contaminated with "extraneous materials," which it discovered after a customer complained about finding pieces of clear plastic and blue dye inside one of the tenders.

And FSIS announced on Sept. 6 that Tennessee-based Magnolia Provision Company had issued a voluntary recall on three of its ready-to-eat beef jerky products that had been shipped to retail locations across the U.S. The alert came after third-party analysis of contact surface samples revealed that the products "may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes," a dangerous bacteria that can cause potentially serious infection. The agency said it was "concerned that some product may be in consumers' pantries" and that those "who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them." But now, the agency is warning that there's another meat item you shouldn't eat.

The USDA just issued an alert about a recall of a meat product.
Shutterstock / Lapina Maria

On Sept. 7, FSIS announced that Georgia-based Sunset Farm Foods had issued a recall for roughly 4,480 pounds of chicken and pork smoked sausage products. The company says it distributed the affected items to retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The product covered by the recall is the 28-ounce vacuum-sealed package of "Georgia Special Chicken and Pork Smoked Sausage" that was produced on June 30, 2022. The recalled items have a sell-by date of 10-28-22 and are marked with the establishment number "P 9185" inside the product's USDA mark of inspection.

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The company is pulling the item due to a potential safety concern.

In its notice, FSIS says Sunset Farm Foods decided to pull the product from shelves because it may be "contaminated with extraneous materials" and unsafe for consumption. The company said it became aware of the issue after "it received consumer complaints reporting thin blue plastic embedded inside the pork and chicken sausage product."

To date, no customers have reported any adverse reactions or medical issues related to the recalled items.

Here's what you should do if you purchased the recalled sausage product.
Shutterstock / Jenson

FSIS says it's concerned that customers may still have the affected items in their refrigerators or freezers. As a result, the agency advises anyone who may have purchased Sunset Farm Foods sausage product that is part of the recall not to eat it. Instead, they should throw the sausage away or return it to the store where it was purchased.

Customers who believe they may have an injury or illness related to the recalled item are urged to contact their healthcare provider immediately. Anyone with questions about the sausage recall can also contact Sunset Farm Foods by phone or email at the phone number and address listed on FSIS's alert notice.