Some things are much more enjoyable when you don’t think too carefully about what’s in them. Gambling. Smoking. Ordering a suspiciously cheap T-Shirt from TopShop. All of these make you want to be sick as soon as you make the mistake of peeking below the surface. Unfortunately for all of us, loads of our favourite foods also fall into this unappetising category.
Like any of the examples listed above, the dubious ingredients that constitute the general fast food sausage are as varied as they are disgusting. Ordinarily, it’s additives such as trans fat and MSG that end up stealing the headlines. However, a recent story from America has proven that sometimes it’s the addition of things that have absolutely no right to be there that can inadvertently end up ruining dinner.
As the American government continues to toil in administrative hell thanks to the Trump shutdown, consumers were shocked to discover that the USDA has issued a mass recall on one of the only sources of comfort in these troubled times. As of January 17th, the department issued a decree to giant chicken conglomerate Perdue, demanding that the company recall nearly 50,000 bags of their popular chicken nuggets. The reason? The suspected inclusion of wood as an accidental ingredient.
Despite being one of the strangest contaminations in recent memory, it is unclear how the wood may have ended up in the nuggets in the first place. According to the statement on the USDA website, “The problem was discovered when the firm (Perdue) received three consumer complaints that wood was found in the product. A complaint was also reported to FSIS’ consumer complaint monitoring system.” Although response seems to have been speedy, the origins of the offending wood have yet to be identified. It has been suggested by some that frustrated investigators have been barking up the wrong tree.
Speaking to the media in the aftermath of the announcement, Perdue’s vice president for quality assurance, Jeff Shaw, stated, “After a thorough investigation, we strongly believe this to be an isolated incident, as only a minimal amount of these packages has the potential to contain pieces of wood. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to recall all packages of Perdue Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets produced during the same product run.”
Though no members of the public have yet been adversely affected by the woody contamination, the USDA continue to urge caution. In their press release, they state that “FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase,” also adding that “Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.” It’s a sad state of affairs when, in these difficult times, even our comfort food seems out to get us.