- ConAgra has expanded its recall of chicken and beef P.F. Chang’s brand entree products by another 191,791 pounds. That increases the original July 6 recall from 3,806 pounds to a total of 195,597 pounds.
- The recall is due to potential contamination of foreign objects, specifically metal fragments an employee observed during processing. The employee was dispensing sugar from a supplier into the frozen product's sauce.
- No injuries have been reported related to the metal pieces contamination.
ConAgra received notification from the sugar supplier that the FDA had recalled multiple production lots of sugar because of the possible contamination of metal fragments. ConAgra had potentially used those sugar lots in FSIS regulated products, which prompted ConAgra's expansion of the initial recall.
ConAgra's recall differs from other recent major recalls that were due to metal fragment contamination, as they are often caused by the manufacturer's own equipment malfunctions during processing.
In March 2015, Kraft (pre-merger with Heinz) recalled 6.5 million boxes of its Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner product after "a piece of stainless steel got wedged in a metal piece of equipment, which may have generated friction that resulted in small pieces of metal potentially falling into the product," a company spokesperson said in a statement.
Last September, Sanderson Farms recalled 550,000 pounds of chicken that may have been contaminated with metal shavings caused by an ice-making machine that malfunctioned during production.
In those cases, equipment monitoring and maintenance may have fixed or prevented the metal fragment contamination. With the types of equipment involved in food and beverage processing, product contaminations from fragments of metal, glass, or plastic are not unheard of.
But for ConAgra, its recall stemmed from a metal fragment contamination that happened during an ingredient supplier's processing instead of its own. This is a reminder to manufacturers of how important it is to ensure they are aware of the operational and safety procedures their suppliers implement in addition to their own. Any issue with a product's ingredients will still resonate with the manufacturer's brand in the minds of consumers.