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| Health |

Labeling Mishap at Houston Packaged Food Company Leads to USDA Recall

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A labeling mishap is causing a Houston-based company to recall and throw out thousands of pounds of food. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a Class 1 recall for two entrées produced by Perfect Fit Meals, LLC. The prepackaged meals, sold in sealed trays, are supplied to several Kroger and Randalls stores in Houston, as well as several other stores nationwide. The company recently started suppling H-E-B stores as well. 

According to the recall notice, one entrée is labeled "Perfect Fit Meals Texas Chicken Ranch Casserole” with a use-by date of 4/24/2016, but may actually be “Perfect Fit Meals Lemon Pepper Chicken.” The bigger problem, though, is that another product, labeled “Perfect Fit Meals Chipotle Chicken Sausage,” may actually contain “Perfect Fit Meals Turkey Enchilada.”

Perfect Fit Meals’ products clearly list potential allergens on the label. The turkey enchilada meal contains milk, and the chipotle chicken sausage one does not. So, thanks to the labeling error, the potential allergen of “milk” is not stated. (That said, one would hope anyone who opens the packages would immediately be able to tell the difference between an enchilada and sausage.

The mislabeled products are noted with establishment number “P-827” inside the USDA mark of inspection on the sealed packages. The USDA advises, “Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

Other than the failure to declare “milk” on the label, and the mislabeling in general, the USDA is not citing anything else wrong with the approximately 10,455 pounds of food. It seems like a shame the trays can’t be notated appropriately and donated to food banks or homeless shelters. That's a lot of food to waste. 

Consumers with food safety questions or concerns can contact the Food Safety Inspection Service’s (FSIS) “Ask Karen” system at AskKaren.gov (mobile site address is m.askkaren.gov). The toll-free number for the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is 888-674-6854 and is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time. There is an online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System web site as well. 

The full text of the recall notice can be found online at the USDA web site and a PDF showing the labels as well as labels of the meats that were actually packaged is shown below. 

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