A public health alert was issued for raw ground beef sold in 1-pound packages at Whole Foods stores nationwide over concerns that the meat may contain pieces of hard plastic.
A recall was not issued because the ground beef is no longer available for sale, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is concerned that the packages may still be stored in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers.
The following Organic Rancher products, produced on April 20, are subject to the public health alert:
- 16-ounce vacuum-sealed packages labeled “ORGANIC RANCHER ORGANIC GROUND BEEF 93% LEAN 7% FAT”
- 16-ounce vacuum-sealed packages labeled “ORGANIC RANCHER ORGANIC GROUND BEEF 85% LEAN 15% FAT”
The meats have a "use by date" of May 18, 2022 and have the establishment number “EST.4027” printed inside the USDA mark of inspection. The health alert was issued after consumers filed complaints of finding hard, rigid plastic in the ground beef products. However, there have been no confirmed reports of illness or injury due to eating the ground beef. Anyone who may have consumed the affected ground beef and is concerned about an illness should contact their medical provider.
Advice to consumers
Whole Foods shoppers who have purchased the affected products are urged not to eat the ground beef and throw it out or return it to the place of purchase.
Anyone with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854. Online, they may contact the department by live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or send a question to MPHotline@usda.gov.
Complaints regarding meat, poultry or egg products can be made online through the Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System 24 hours a day.
Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.