Bits of metal, hard plastic, rubber and even glass are increasingly getting mixed and baked into processed meat products reaching consumers, triggering a record number of safety recalls, a Washington Post analysis of federal records shows.
So far this year, the Agriculture Department has announced 34 recalls involving 17 million pounds of meat products after stray materials were found in them.
That’s a sharp increase from a decade ago, in 2009, when there were five such recalls involving about 1 million pounds of processed meat.
Metal parts are breaking off machines that mix, chop and puree ingredients. Plant workers’ rubber gloves are falling into the meat mixes. And bits of plastic and glass from meat packaging and ingredient containers are getting ground into the food.
The makers of some of the most beloved and recognizable ready-made food staples have issued the recalls, including Tyson Foods chicken tenders, Jimmy Dean sausages and Spam.