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Urgent USDA health alert: If you have this meat in your fridge, throw it out now

Published May 13th, 2022 12:37PM EDT
Red ground minced beef on a table
Image: Brent Hofacker/Adobe

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The last beef recalls we warned you about involved meat products contaminated with strains of E. coli. Two companies had to issue massive recalls after detecting the bacteria in their products. Now we have a different beef contamination problem that would have triggered a recall if the products were still available in stores. Instead, we’re looking at a health alert from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) concerning raw ground beef products sold at Whole Foods.

The beef might have pieces of hard plastic mixed in, so it poses a serious problem. Customers might still have the product in their refrigerators or freezers, which means they risk ingesting plastic if they eat the meat products.

USDA ground beef health alert

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a health alert for raw ground beef products earlier this week.

Customers should be aware of two beef products that might be contaminated with plastic pieces:

  • 16-oz. vacuum-sealed packages containing “ORGANIC RANCHER ORGANIC GROUND BEEF 93% LEAN 7% FAT” with a use by date of 5-18-2022.
  • 16-oz. vacuum-sealed packages containing “ORGANIC RANCHER ORGANIC GROUND BEEF 85% LEAN 15% FAT” with a use by date of 5-18-2022

Additionally, the two products bear establishment number “EST. 4027” inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were sold at Whole Foods locations nationwide.

USDA Ground Beef Health Alert: Label example 1.
USDA ground beef health alert: Label example 1. Image source: USDA

The firm discovered the problem after receiving complaints from consumers. People said they found hard, rigid pieces of plastic in the ground beef. The company notified the FSIS, and the agency triggered the health alert.

What you should do

While they’re no longer available for sale, the raw ground beef above still has a valid best-by date. That means customers might still have it in their refrigerators or freezers.

That’s why the FSIS issued the health alert, warning customers not to consume the meat. Instead, buyers can throw the ground beef away or return it to Whole Foods for a full refund.

A growing number of reports show that all sorts of foods can contain microplastics that get into the body. But the Whole Foods ground beef products above might contain bigger plastic chunks that can cause injuries.

USDA Ground Beef Health Alert: Label example 2.
USDA ground beef health alert: Label example 2. Image source: USDA

The USDA says in the press release that there have been no reports of illness or injury related to the Whole Foods ground beef from this health alert. But if you think you experienced adverse reactions after eating this meat, you should contact your doctor.

Also, you should read the full USDA health alert for the Whole Foods ground beef at this link. It contains contact details for the meat manufacturer and the FSIS.

Furthermore, you’ll find additional product labels at this link to help you identify the ground beef in your freezer that might contain chunks of plastic.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.