Ground Beef Sold at Whole Foods May Contain Plastic

USDA issued a public health alert for the affected products

Recalled ground meat Source: USDA

If you’ve recently purchased packaged, organic ground beef from Whole Foods, and it’s still in your fridge or freezer, take a close look at the label. The Department of Agriculture announced a public health safety alert for certain ground beef packages sold at Whole Foods stores because they may contain small bits of hard plastic. Whole Foods says the affected products were shipped to stores in the North Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest, and Florida regions.

Labels of recalled beef

Source: USDA Source: USDA

More on food safety

The ground beef involved is 16-ounce packages of Organic Rancher Organic Ground Beef with a fat content of 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat, or 85 percent lean and 15 percent fat. The beef has a “use by” date of 5/18/22 and a stamp of “EST. 4027” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The meat is no longer on store shelves, according to Whole Foods.

Individuals who purchased the beef should either throw it away or take it to the store with the original receipt for a full refund, a Whole Foods spokesperson told CR.

The health alert comes after the company received multiple consumer complaints about plastic pieces in the meat.

“During production and packaging, pieces of belts and machinery can sometimes break off and get into the food, including ground beef,” says James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety and testing at Consumer Reports. “If you bite down on them, you could injure your teeth or mouth.”

The USDA says there have been no confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions from eating the beef.

If you have a food safety question, the USDA suggests calling its Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854.

Head shot of CRO author Lisa Gill

Lisa L. Gill

As a dorky kid, I spent many a Saturday at the Bloomington, Ind., public library, scouring Consumer Reports back issues for great deals. Now, as a (much) bigger kid, that's still my job! Identifying products and services, especially in healthcare, that are safe, effective, and affordable—and highlighting those that aren't—is my top concern. Got a tip? Follow me on Twitter ( @Lisa_L_Gill)