Trader Joe’s Recalls Chicken Soup Dumplings

( – Federal regulators have recalled more than 61,000 pounds of chicken dumplings, believing they may be contaminated with plastic. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), part of the Department of Agriculture, ordered the recall of the dumplings produced by CJ Foods Manufacturing Beaumont Corp. after receiving reports from consumers who found “hard plastic” in Trader Joe-branded products.

No related illnesses or incidents were reported, but FSIS urged consumers to check their refrigerators for 6-ounce packs of “Trader Joe’s Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings” and either throw these away or bring them to a store for a full refund.

Foreign object contamination is one of the top reasons food is recalled in America, and there have been several such instances in recent years. Nine recalls in 2022 clawed back 477,000 pounds of food, three times the amount recalled for bacteria or similar toxins. This is dwarfed, however, by the 16 million pounds recalled in 2019. This included 12 million pounds of chicken strips manufactured by Tyson Foods Inc. that were found to contain pieces of metal.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges the potential for contamination and says such incidents are to be expected. The agency says it is “economically impractical” to attempt to harvest, grow, or produce foods that are entirely free of “unavoidable defects.”

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) works with the FDA and requires companies to notify them immediately if they suspect a product may be contaminated. Based on the available facts, the agencies then determine whether a recall is necessary. Manufacturers voluntarily participate in most recalls, although the two federal organizations do have the power to force them.

Keith Belk, director of the Center for Meat Safety and Quality at Colorado State University, says food quality has improved dramatically and notes that large food producers use various methods to ensure foreign bodies are not contained within their products. This includes using magnets, x-ray machinery, metal detectors, and emerging technologies.

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