Lean Cuisine recall of Baked Chicken Dinner
Photo: FDA

Over the weekend, Nestlé recalled its Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken frozen dinner after five consumers reported finding hard white plastic pieces in the product. 

No injuries or illnesses have been reported, according to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service. 

Nestlé says it believes the contamination was due to a plastic conveyor belt breaking during production. The plastic probably was in the mashed potatoes in the product. 

The product, Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken white meat chicken with stuffing, red skin mashed potatoes, and gravy, was packaged on Sept. 2, 2020. The packages are stamped with a lot code of 0246595911 and a “Best Before” date of Oct. 2, 2021.

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The USDA  is concerned that some consumers may have this product in their freezers. If you do, either throw it away or return it to the store where you purchased it for a refund, both the USDA and Nestlé say.

The recall extends only to products that bear this single lot code, and the company reports that it has fixed the problem. Nestlé did not immediately respond to requests for information about where the product had been shipped. 

Unfortunately, “foreign objects in food, especially processed food, is a relatively common occurrence,” says James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. Conveyor belts and other equipment used in processing can become frayed or break, releasing fragments of plastic or other materials, such as rubber or metal, into the product. 

“It is not usually caught by inspectors because it is so hard to see,” Rogers says. “Sadly, it is the consumer that is the ‘detector’ of foreign objects in food.”

The Details

Products recalled: 92,206 pounds of Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken frozen dinner. The packages are 8 ⅝-ounce carton trays marked “LEAN CUISINE Baked Chicken, white meat chicken with stuffing, red skin mashed potatoes and gravy” with a lot code of 0246595911 and “Best Before” date of October 2021.

The problem: The meal may contain pieces of plastic.

The fix: Throw out any of the recalled product, or return it to the point of purchase for a refund.

How to contact the manufacturer: Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Nestlé Prepared Foods at 800-993-8625, email nestleproductinquiry@casupport.com, or use the company’s online form.