Conagra Brands Issued Major Canned Meat Recall Over Packaging Risk

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a division of the USDA, nearly 2.6 million pounds of meat and poultry products shipped by Conagra Brands were recalled earlier this week due to the potential for foodborne pathogens stemming from a packaging fault. Over five dozen meat products were recalled in total, the majority of which were Armour brand Vienna sausages.

The issue was first brought to the attention of the FSIS by warehouse staff employed by Conagra Brands, who discovered leaks and spoilage affecting some of the recalled products. The most insidious aspect of the recall, FSIS notes, is that due to the packaging problem, the affected products became susceptible to pathogen contamination, but in a way that was undetectable to consumers. However, to date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with any of the recalled products.

Pathogen contamination is one of the three most frequent causes of food recalls, observes the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the other two being foreign objects and undeclared allergens.

How to determine whether you have purchased any of the recalled products

All of the Conagra Brands meat and poultry items listed in the recall were produced during the past two months, and although the recall list encompasses numerous brand names, lot codes, best-by dates, and UPC numbers, there is one commonality that will allow consumers to easily discern whether they have purchased any of the affected products. According to the FSIS, all of the recalled food items share the same establishment number: P4247. The USDA notes that this number will typically follow the capital letters "EST" on the packaging and that it's usually found on the outside of the can wrappers. 

The affected items were delivered to retailers across the country before being recalled, so it's quite possible some were purchased prior to being pulled from supermarket shelves. If you discover any of these recalled products at home, the FSIS recommends tossing them, or returning them to the store where you bought them.

Besides Armour, other brands listed in the recall include Goya, Grace, Walmart's Great Value, Hargis, Hereford, Kroger, Prairie Belt, and Valrico, per the FSIS list.