Every week, millions of people go to local grocers and supermarkets to buy foods and goods for their week ahead. Among the most popular of foods are meat products, such as beef, poultry, and fish. However, while these are among the most popular for being an excellent source of nutrition and protein, they are also some that require the most diligence to care and safety by producers and sellers. It is a common fact that when meat is not properly handled that such negligence can result in a contaminated product that is unsafe for consumption.
However, consumers trust that producers and sellers inspect and produce meat with adequate care. As consumers, we also expect that when such care is used, dangers can be discovered and that dangerous or contaminated meat will not reach store shelves and that we will not inadvertently purchase a product that is dangerous, unknowing to us.
Producers and sellers must notify consumers when they have thoroughly inspected a product, but know that a danger still exists but can be eradicated through properly handling. This is most often done through proper labeling and warnings. For instance, when you purchase a package of chicken from the grocery store, you notice that the labeling on the meat warns you about salmonella, how to properly handle raw meat, to wash hands and utensils that hand handled the meat, and to what temperatures it should be cooked to avoid foodborne illnesses. This labeling and warning is done as part of a seller’s duty of care under product liability law to warn consumers of known dangers.
Unfortunately though, according to a recent report by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, an Iowa firm has recalled beef products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens. The firm, Agri Star Meat & Poultry, has recalled 1690 pounds of beef products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens. The products may contain peanuts, which are a commonly known allergen to many people, and this is not disclosed on the product label. The items at issue are a 13.5 oz vacuum-packed packages containing pieces of “Aaron’s BEST GLUTEN FREE Beef Franks Hot & Spicy CHIPOTLE.” These products have the establishment number “EST. 4653A” inside of the USDA mark of inspection. This problem came to light when the company’s ingredient supplier told them that some of the ground spices may have been contaminated with peanut residue. As of now, there have been no reports of adverse reactions to the products.
Proper product labeling is a serious issue because under product liability law it ensures that our foods and goods are labeled with known dangers that can either be avoided by not purchasing the product (such as in the case of allergies) or by including proper instructions to remove the dangers (such as correct cooking methods). If you have been injured by a dangerous product or suffered a foodborne illness, it is important to know your legal rights. Contact our firm for a free consultation, and we would be happy to discuss your situation with you.