Chicken nuggets

Perdue Foods, the largest producer of organic chicken in the United States, announced a recall of 68,244 pounds of its gluten-free SimplySmart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets.

The product “may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically wood,” said a statement from the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which announced the recall on Friday.

The nuggets were sold in frozen 22-oz. plastic bag packages marked with a “Best By” date of 10/25/19. The FSIS is concerned that consumers still have these products in their freezers, and recommends throwing out the chicken or returning it to the point of purchase.

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The voluntary recall was prompted by three consumers who reported finding wood in their nuggets. FSIS said it's not aware of any adverse reactions from the products.

There have been three other recalls from other food companies due to foreign object contamination in the last month, including pork and chicken sausage possibly contaminated with metal, pork sausage possibly contaminated with rubber, and bacon-flavored pork patties with cheese, also possibly contaminated with rubber.

"Foreign objects in foods is a top reason why products are recalled,” says James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “But neither the USDA or the Food and Drug Administration typically tests for them. That means they're mostly found in company spot checks or by consumers."

Consuming food with foreign objects can cause mouth lacerations, digestive issues, or worse, depending on what's in the food.

It's unclear from regulators how the wood may have gotten into the nuggets. A spokesperson for Perdue told CR that the wood contamination was “an isolated incident of unknown origin...only minimal amounts of these packages [have] the potential to contain pieces of wood." Still, the company said that "out of an abundance of caution" it decided to "recall all packages of Perdue Simply Smart organics gluten-free chicken breast nuggets, produced during that same product run.”

No one at the FSIS was available for comment. CR will update this story as new details emerge.

The Details

Products recalled: 68,244 pounds of Perdue SimplySmart Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets Gluten Free, sold in 22-ounce bags with a Best By date of 10/25/19.

The problem: Customers reported finding wood in their chicken nuggets.

The fix: The Department of Agriculture says consumers should 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 call Perdue Foods at 877-727-3447.

The recalled Perdue chicken nuggets.
Photo: Food Safety and Inspection Service/USDA
Photo: Food Safety and Inspection Service/USDA