Conagra Brands made the headlines recently, and unfortunately not with good publicity. They have announced a recall for their chicken and rice products, due to a misbranding issue and the failure to declare specific allergens. The recall affected over 2,800 pounds for chicken and rice product.
What was the reason behind the recall?
The recall was prompted when it was brought to them that many of their chicken and rice products actually contained beef ravioli. In addition to the mislabeling, the package failed to disclose that the product contained milk and wheat which are known allergens. They were alerted to the problem by consumer complaints that they had purchased packages labeled as "chicken with rice & vegetables," which turned out to contain beef ravioli.
Luckily there have been no reports of problems or reactions due to the consumption and mislabeling of the products aside from dissatisfied customers. They are telling consumers, not to eat the products and throw them away or return them to the store in which they were purchased.
Which batches were affected by the recall?
Products that are subject to the recall include 7.5-ounce cans of microwavable Chef BOYARDEE rice with chicken & vegetables with a Best By date of July08202 and package code of 210090151050045L. This batch of products was produced and packaged on January 16th, 2019 and is marked with EST. 794 on the bottom of the bowl. If you made your purchase before then, there should be no problems with your product. Consumers in Florida, New York, and Kentucky are advised to check their products. The FSIS will continue to monitor the recall and make sure all customers are notified of the process and actions are taken to rectify the problem.
Why is it dangerous when products are not properly labeled?
The biggest concern with making sure food products are labeled properly are public health concerns. Consumers want to know and have a right to know what they are eating. Some people may choose to avoid certain foods for health reasons, because of allergies, or for religious purposes. Also, when food is mislabeled, it may lead to improper handling and storage, which can result in the growth of bacteria, leading to harmful diseases.
One of the biggest concerns with mislabeled food products is food allergies. There are more than 160 foods that can lead to some kind of food reaction. The FDA lists the most common types of food allergies as:
- Tree nuts
These allergens are responsible for over 90% of allergic reactions involving food. Because of this, the FDA requires that these allergens are appropriately labeled.
What to do if you have purchased a mislabeled product?
If you believe, you have consumed a product that was contaminated or mislabeled, below are a few steps you should take.
- Keep all of the original packaging and take photos of the product and any problems you have noticed with it.
- Immediately contact the manufacturer. Have ready the UPC number and information about the location where it was purchased. They may ask you to send pictures, packaging, or the entire product.
- Contact the FDA's Consumer Complaint Center or report the problem online on their website.
In the unfortunate circumstances that you suffer a reaction from the mislabeling of a product, you should:
- Seek medical attention.
- Bring any packaging with you so the doctor can determine what might be the problem.
- Keep all receipts and medical records of your healthcare treatment.
- Report the situation to both the manufacturer and the FDA Consumer Department. Document the names of people you have spoke with, numbers you were told to call, and the information that they provided in response to the complaint.
If you have been injured by the mislabeling of a product that has resulted in medical conditions or additional costs, you might be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer. Always make sure to keep all relevant information, including the product and packaging and contact an attorney. They can send the product out for analysis and help determine if you have a case for damages.