WASHINGTON, DC – Chicken nuggets produced under the Applegate Farm label are being recalled due to customer complaints of small, solid, plastic bits inside the nuggets. The recall affects approximately 4,530 pounds of chicken nugget products. The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the news on Saturday, March 5.
The recall affects the Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets that were produced on Sept. 28, 2015.
- 8-oz. boxed packages containing approximately 18 pieces of “Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets” with Best Before Date 09/27/2016.
The recall is for products shipped to retail distribution centers in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York. However, there are some people who are concerned that shipments to New Jersey stores may also be contaminated.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this is a Class One recall, which is defined as "a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death." The health risk is considered high.
Last year, Applegate Farms, which is based out of Bridgewater, NJ, recalled the identical product for seemingly similar reasons, plastic solids found in the nuggets. According to a press release dated August 13, 2014, Applegate Farms stated that they corrected the problem.
The press release said, "We have carefully evaluated every step in the processing and packaging of this product. As a result, we have identified and implemented (a) corrective action that will provide added assurance against a similar incident occurring in the future. The containers have been removed from the production floor and will be replaced with either stainless steel containers or another substance that is strong and easily detected if a piece becomes dislodged."
In an email to TAP, Maria Balice, director of Communications for Applegate Farms clarified the issue.
"Applegate did recall our Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets in August 2014 because of small pieces of plastic, and the cause of the problem was fixed. In that instance, a piece of plastic from one of the containers used to store raw chicken before grinding became dislodged and comingled with the raw chicken. We are still looking into what caused this current issue, but we do know this is NOT a recurrence of the situation we experienced in 2014. We’ve isolated the cause to the final stages of the production process."
In July of last year, Applegate Farms (whose chicken products are processed by Perdue Foods) was sold to Hormel Foods Corporation for $775 million. The rationale behind the acquisition was for Hormel to enter the burgeoning organic "free form" food market. Applegate Farms, at the time, was the largest seller of organic meat products in the US.