The Ministry of Health has warned consumers not to purchase frozen Tyson chicken strip products as they may be contaminated with pieces of metal. It also advised local wholesalers to voluntarily recall the products with immediate effect.
In a release yesterday, the ministry noted that Tyson Foods Inc and the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recalled about 69,000 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strip products.
It said while there were no confirmed reports of adverse reactions, consumers were advised not to consume these products with the best if used by date of November 30, 2019 and the establishment number P-7221 on the back of the product package.
The products included 25-oz plastic bag packages of frozen Tyson fully cooked buffalo style chicken strips; chicken breast strip fritters with rib meat and buffalo style sauce; 25-oz plastic bag packages of frozen Tyson fully cooked crispy chicken strips; and 20-lb cases of frozen Spare Time fully cooked, buffalo style chicken strips; chicken breast strip fritters with rib meat and buffalo style sauce.
President of the Supermarkets Association Rajiv Diptee told Newsday since the advisory was only sent yesterday morning, the association had not yet been able to confirm if any of the contaminated batches of product were actually brought to TT. However, he said consumers still needed to be vigilant.
He said the ministry and the US Department of Agriculture would do their checks, get information on the import and export of products to the association which would then pass it on to its members so each supermarket could check their stores. “If any has been affected at that time then the Supermarket Association as well as the Health Ministry would issue an advisory.”
Asked how a local recall affected business, Diptee first noted that a recall meant that the product would be returned to the supplier. “Each supermarket would have a relationship with their supplier and, at the supplier’s discretion, depending on that relationship, there will be a credit rebate applied where applicable.”
He said the association would have to pay closer attention to trends but usually when there was an advisory or recall consumers avoided the brand for a time and purchased alternatives. However, after a period of downtime sales would return to normal.
Things might be different for Tyson products though because this was the second recall for the brand within the space of two months. On January 31, the ministry noted that Tyson had to recall 36,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets after consumers reported finding soft blue pieces of rubber inside them.
He said it was initially a concern but the local supplier said TT was not affected and the association checked import records, confirming the advisory did not apply to TT. “It is something that’s popular and while there has been a slight decrease in sales people are still buying the product. But I think what we will see, especially as this is the second recall where Tyson is concerned, that consumer confidence in the brand might be shaken and adversely affected.”
He added that, in the case of the contaminated romaine lettuce from the US last November, since the product was not returned to suppliers but dumped and destroyed as the ministry advised, it had to be counted as a loss.
However, he said even in those situations, stores could apply for credit rebates from their suppliers and they may or may not receive the rebates depending on the relationship between the two.