Massive Pilgrim’s Pride Recall Has Grown to Include More Than 5 Million Pounds of Chicken

What started as a recall for chicken nuggets produced by Pilgrim's Pride has grown into a recall of more than 5 million pounds of meat.
What started as a recall for chicken nuggets produced by Pilgrim's Pride has grown into a recall of more than 5 million pounds of meat.
Photo by James Palinsad via Flickr Creative Commons

Schools and other institutions that buy fully cooked chicken in bulk should consider checking their inventory. For some, this won't be the first time they've heard that as of late. A recall of fully cooked chicken products from Pilgrim's Pride that started on April 7 has now increased to a total of 5 million pounds. A new notice with another batch of recalled products was issued on May 13 and says these may be “contaminated with extraneous metal materials.”

It is categorized as a “Class I” recall, which according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service definition means “use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

The recall seems to apply to bulk-packaged products for institutional use, not individual packages destined for grocery-store shelves. That’s not great news, though, since the USDA recall notice states, “According to Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. records, schools have purchased products through the company’s commercial channels. These items were shipped for institutional use nationwide.”

The initial recall, on April 7, was for “20-lb. cardboard boxes containing two, 10-lb. clear plastic bags of fully cooked chicken nuggets labeled as “GOLD KIST FARMS Fully Cooked Whole Grain Popcorn Style Chicken Patty Fritters” with package codes 5278105021, 5278105022, 5278105023, 5278105000, and 5278105001.” It was put into effect after the USDA received several complaints from consumers of finding “plastic contamination.”

On April 26 was a massive addition of another 4,524,980 pounds of fully cooked chicken products, including brand names Gold Kist Farms, Pierce Chicken and Sweet Georgia. The notice on May 7 added Green Dragon brand products to the recall, as well as more products from the aforementioned names.

The latest notice, on May 13, adds 376,380 more pounds to the recall. That brings the grand total to 5,550,904. 

Pierce Chicken is a division of Pilgrim’s Pride. Gold Kist Farms was acquired by Pilgrim’s Pride in 2006. The Green Dragon brand is sold by a company called Asian Food Solutions, which, according to its website, specializes in selling “delicious and nutritious Asian entrées” to school lunch programs.

The good news is that the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says there have been no reports received of adverse affects owing to consumption. A full list of the recalled products is available at the USDA website.

Interestingly, we were not able to find any mention of the recall on the Pilgrim’s Pride website. The majority owner of Pilgrim’s Pride is Brazilian company JBS USA Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of multinational JBS S.A. It is the largest meat processor in the world and the number one producer of beef, chicken and lamb. The corporate office in the United States is in Greeley, Colorado. 


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