Ground Beef Recall 2019: 130,000 Pounds of Meat Products Could Contain Plastic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a class II recall of raw ground beef products produced and distributed by Rastelli Foods Group due to contamination concerns.

The recall notice, published November 7, 2019, affects around 130,464 pounds of meat and was issued following customer complaints made to the FSIS via the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.

Officials believe the items listed in the recall may be contaminated with "extraneous materials"—and of plastic, in particular.

The products affected were produced by Rastelli Bros, doing business as Rastelli Foods Group, between October 3, 2019 and October 15, 2019, before being shipped to distribution centers and retail points in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois and Maryland.

Anyone who has one of the items affected by the recall is advised against eating them. Instead, the USDA encourages customers to dispose of them or return the products to the point of purchase.

These products should be identifiable by the establishment number "EST. 7877-A," which can be found inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The products subject to recall are:

  • 16 ounce vacuum-sealed packages of "Nature's Rancher 100 Percent Grass Fed Organic Ground Beef, 85 Percent Lean, 15 Percent Fat" with the following case codes: 9276, 9283, 9287, or 9288; and the following use or freeze by dates: 10/24/19, 10/31/19, 11/04/19, 11/07/19, and 11/11/19.
  • 16 ounce vacuum-sealed packages containing "Nature's Rancher 100 Percent Grass Fed Organic Ground Beef 93 Percent Lean, 7 Percent Fat" with the following case codes: 9276, 9283, 9287, or 9288; and the following use or freeze by dates: 10/24/19, 10/31/19, 11/04/19, 11/07/19, and 11/11/19.

The recall is a class II, meaning the overall risk of these products to customer health is low, the USDA says on the notice: "This is a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product."

There have been no confirmed cases of sickness or injury caused by the consumption of the Rastelli's raw ground beef products which have now been recalled, but anyone who is concerned that they may have experienced an adverse health reaction is advised to speak to their medical practitioner.

ground beef
More than 130,000 pounds of meat have been recalled after customer complaints made to the FSIS via the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Picture: ground beef at a factory. FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty

According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, hard plastic can make its way into food through tools and equipment used during food processing. This includes scoops, containers and paddles. Plastic sieves and screens can also cause plastic contamination.

The recall notice does not specify what the "remote probability of an adverse health consequence" may be or how hard or soft the plastic contamination is thought to be, but hard plastic contaminants can be a choking hazard and can cause dental damage as well as damage to the mouth and digestive tract.

Ground Beef Recall 2019: 130,000 Pounds of Meat Products Could Contain Plastic | Health