Chicken strips and sauce.

Tyson Foods dramatically boosted its recall of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strips to nearly 12 million pounds from 69,093 pounds in March, the company and the Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said. The chicken may contain metal fragments.

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The chicken strips were sold under the Tyson brand and private label brands to retail stores across the country in 20-, 25-, and 40-ounce bags. The private label brands include: Best Choice, Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Giant Premium, Great Value, Hannaford, Kirkwood, Meijer, Publix, and SE Grocers. They were also sold under the Spare Time brand to retailers and correctional institutions in 20-pound boxes.

The products were produced from Oct. 1, 2018, to March 8, 2019 and have use-by dates of Oct. 1, 2019, through March 7, 2020. All the products have the establishment number P-7221 on the back of the product package.

Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips involved in the recall.
The products involved in the recall.
Photo: USDA

The recalled products were shipped to stores nationwide. Tyson said that a list of stores that received the products will be posted on the USDA’s website eventually, but that information isn’t currently available.

The Tyson products in the recall are: Tyson Fully Cooked Buffalo Style Chicken Strips, Tyson Fully Cooked Crispy Chicken Strips, and Tyson Fully Cooked Honey BBQ Flavored Chicken Strips. For the specific names of the private label products, see the details below. (To see full images of the products, download a pdf from the FSIS website.)

Back of Tyson chicken strip package.
The use-by date and establishment code are in the upper left-hand corner on the back of the package.
Photo: USDA

The problem was discovered when the FSIS received complaints from consumers who found metal fragments in the product. In March, the FSIS reported that it had received two complaints but no reports of injury or illness. In this expansion of the recall, the FSIS said it is aware of six complaints, with three alleging oral injury.

“Our company is taking corrective action at the location that makes these products,” said Barbara Masters, D.V.M., vice president of regulatory food policy, food, and agriculture at Tyson Foods. “We have discontinued use of the specific equipment believed to be associated with the metal fragments, and we will be installing metal-detecting X-ray machinery to replace the plant’s existing metal-detection system. We will also be using a third-party video auditing system for metal-detection verification.”

Consumers should take care to ensure that they don’t have any affected products at home, says James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. 

Foreign objects in food have the potential to be very dangerous. Metal, plastic, rubber, and other contaminants found recently in foods “all have the ability to do very serious damage to the digestive tract,” Rogers says.

This is the 12th food recall this year to involve foreign objects in processed foods. One of these also involved Tyson chicken products, for contamination with rubber pieces.

The Details

Products recalled: 20-, 25-, and 40-ounce bags of frozen, ready-to-eat Tyson and private label chicken strips and 20-pound cases of frozen, ready-to-eat Spare Time chicken strips. The products were produced between Oct. 1, 2018, and March 8, 2019, and have use-by dates of Oct. 1, 2019, through March 7, 2020. The establishment number is P-7221. The following supermarket products are part of the recall:

• Tyson Fully Cooked Buffalo Style Chicken Strips

• Tyson Fully Cooked Crispy Chicken Strips

• Tyson Fully Cooked Honey BBQ Flavored Chicken Strips.

• Best Choice Buffalo Style Chicken Strips

• Food Lion Buffalo-Style Chicken Strips

• Food Lion Crispy Chicken Strips

• Giant Premium Chicken Strips

• Giant Eagle Fully Cooked Chicken Strips

• Great Value Fully Cooked Chicken Strips

• Hannaford Buffalo-Style Chicken Strips

• Hannaford Crispy Chicken Strips

• Kirkwood Buffalo Style Chicken Strips

• Kirkwood Honey BBQ flavored Chicken Strips

• Meijer Chicken Strips Buffalo Style

• Meijer Crispy Chicken Strips

• Meijer Chicken Strips Honey BBQ Flavored

• Publix Fully Cooked Crispy Chicken Fritters

• SE Grocers Fully Cooked Chicken Strips

The problem: The chicken strips may contain metal fragments.

The fix: Before buying one of these products, consumers should check labels for the dates and establishment number listed above. If you already have one of these products in your freezer, you should cut the UPC and date code from the packaging, throw the product out, and contact Tyson.

How to contact the manufacturer: Call Tyson Foods at 866-886-8456.

How to contact the FSIS: If you experience a problem with meat or poultry, such as foreign objects in food or foodborne illness, you can report it on the FSIS website or by calling the USDA’s meat and poultry hotline at 888-674-6854.

Editor's Note:  A previous version of this article listed the incorrect establishment code. The correct establishment code is P-7221, not P-7721. This article has been updated to reflect the expansion of the Tyson recall first announced in March.