If You Have This Chicken in Your Freezer, Do Not Eat It, USDA Warns

Chicken is arguably one of the most versatile ingredients when it comes to cooking. You…

Chicken is arguably one of the most versatile ingredients when it comes to cooking. You can sauté it for a salad, grill it to serve alongside greens, or bake it any way you like. And besides being useful in all kinds of dishes, it can even be conveniently frozen until you need to use it. But before you start prepping your next meal, you might want to check which products you’re using. Because according to the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), there may be one type of chicken in your freezer you shouldn’t eat. Read on to see which item you need to get rid of right now.

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Freezing your food is an easy way to ensure it won’t go bad before you use it. But just like any product in your refrigerator or pantry, some items occasionally get called out by authorities for carrying potential health risks—even those in your ice box.

On Aug. 18, FSIS issued a public health alert warning about certain ground beef items produced by Hawaii Big Island Beef after discovering they could be contaminated with harmful E. coli O157:H7 bacterium. While the company didn’t issue a recall on the items because they were no longer available for sale, it’s possible that customers could still have them in their home freezers.

There have also been a string of recalls related to frozen pizzas recently. On July 15, FSIS issued a High Class 1 safety alert announcing the recall of 14-ounce packages of “Pizza Cubana by Ready Dough Pizza Inc” after it discovered the items were “produced without the benefit of federal inspection.” Products were cited as having shipped with either incorrect ingredient labels or missing them altogether. The agency then expanded the recall to include the company’s “Pizza Cubana Cuban Style Ham Pizza” and “Pizza Cubana Cuban Style Bacon Pizza” for the same reason six days later.

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And on Aug. 14, the agency issued a High Class 1 safety alert for a recall of 13,099 pounds of “Home Run Inn Chicago’s Premium Pizzeria Deluxe Sausage Classic Pizza.” The company warned that the items “may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal,” which was discovered after a customer reported the issue. But now, another alert has been issued for a product you could have on ice right now.

fried chicken breasts, ketchup, basil
nelea33 / Shutterstock

On Aug. 23, FSIS issued a public health alert for Perdue frozen ready-to-eat (RTE) “gluten-free” chicken breast tenders due to a potential health risk. The affected items were produced on July 12, 2022, come packaged in 42-ounce plastic bags, and were shipped to BJ’s Wholesale Club retail locations across the U.S.

The items in question are stamped with the date “Best if Used By: 07 12 23” and the lot number 2193 above it. The establishment number “P-33944” is also stamped directly below the “Best By” date.

According to FSIS, it didn’t issue a recall for the chicken breast tenders because they are no longer available for sale. However, the agency is concerned that some customers may still have the item in their freezers.

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In the health alert, FSIS warns that the Perdue Frozen Gluten Free Ready-To-Eat Chicken Breast Tenders could be contaminated with “extraneous materials.” In this case, pieces of clear plastic and blue dye may have made their way into the final product.

According to the agency’s notice, the company was made aware of the issue after a customer complained about finding a small piece of plastic and blue dye inside a tender. So far, no reports of medical issues related to the products have been reported.

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person throwing away cooked chicken nuggets
Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

FSIS is advising any customers who purchased the Perdue chicken items not to eat them. Instead, they should be thrown away or returned to their place of purchase.

If you have any questions about the alert, you can contact Perdue Foods by calling 866-866-3703. And consumers with any general food safety questions can always reach the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline by calling 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854) or using the agency’s online live chat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.