Last Saturday, a Texas meatpacking plant from Texas Meat Packers, located in Fort Worth and owned by Patterson Foods, announced a recall of more than 7,100 pounds of raw beef products that had been produced and packaged “without the benefit of federal inspection,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The beef products included both fresh and frozen meat, were produced on March 23 and March 24, 2018 and they were shipped to retail and institutional customers in nine states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana.
Which Items Are Being Recalled?
The recall covers the following following products are subject to recall:
- 5-lb. vacuum-packed frozen packages of “BEEF SKIRT DICED FOR TACOS.” These packages are affixed with a case code of 1470, which is located in the upper left-hand corner of the label, and they have a packaging date of 03/24/18.
- 5-lb. vacuum-packed frozen packages of “PRESEASONED BEEF FOR FAJITAS,” which are affixed with a case code of 36989 in the upper left-hand corner of the label. These packages have a packaging date of 03/24/18 and a use-by date of 03/23/19.
- Packages of vacuum-packed fresh “USDA CHOICE ANGUS BEEF, FAJITA SEASONED STEAK, BEEF FLANK STEAK FOR FAJITAS,” in various weights. These packages feature an item code of 567248261, which is located in in the upper left-hand corner of the case label. These have a packaging date of either 03/23/18 or 03/24/18 and a use or freeze-by date of 04/18/18.
- Packages of vacuum-packed packages of fresh “USDA CHOICE ANGUS, FAJITA SEASONED STRIPS, BEEF FLANK STRIPS FOR FAJITAS,” in various weights. These packages have an item code of 567248253, located in the upper left-hand corner of the case label. They have a packaging date of 03/24/18, and a use or freeze-by date of 04/18/18.
All of the beef products being recalled bear an establishment number “EST. 34715” inside the USDA mark of inspection. However, though there is a mark of inspection on these products, the problem that led to the recall came when USDA FSIS inspectors reviewed establishment records on March 30, 2018, and determined that the establishment operated on March 24, 2018, without inspection.
This is Not the First One
This is not the first time a recall has been called for packaged raw beef from Texas Meat Packers. In fact, the company faced a previous recall just last December, when the USDA discovered that more than 7,500 pounds of ground beef was improperly labeled and contained “an undeclared allergen.” More specifically, a complaint from a school prompted a September inspection, in which inspectors found soy in the meat that was not declared. Like the current recall, that was designated a Class I recall. That recall only affected institutional products, not retail.
A Class I recall is one on the USDA scale as having a high risk to health. A Class I recall is one in which there is “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”
For the current recall, FSIS notes there have been no confirmed reports of anyone contracting an illness or experiencing adverse reactions after consumption of these products so far. There are potential risks associated with consuming meat that has not undergone a proper USDA inspection.
The Risks of Uninspected Beef
The risks posed by uninspected beef can include additional exposure to foodborne organisms and other contaminants that can lead to illnesses connected to salmonella or e. Coli, or even possibly harmful antibiotic residues. That is because uninspected meat tends to be poorly handled at every stage of the production process, from slaughter to processing to packaging, and unsafe handling is a . As happened with the previous recall, it is also possible for meat packers to miss small amounts of potentially harmful allergens, like soy, dairy or even nuts, that could cause dangerous reactions.
FSIS recommends anyone who suffers any sort of reaction or illness should immediately see a doctor or other healthcare provider. There is some concern on the part of FSIS than much of the product may be stored in some consumers’ freezers. They urge that consumers not eat these products and those who have purchased them at retailers are being urged to throw them away or return them to the original place of purchase for a full refund. Those consumers who have questions about the recall are urged to contact Patterson Foods, at (817) 546-3561.