Over 13 Tons Of TGI Fridays Chicken Bites Have Been Recalled Over Plastic

On December 15, roughly 26,550 pounds of TGI Fridays chicken bites were recalled by manufacturer Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. More specifically, the 15-ounce box of TGI Friday's Boneless Chicken Bites in the Honey BBQ flavor was recalled for "possible foreign matter contamination," according to a report by the USD. That's over 13 tons, just shy of two school buses.

The voluntary recall started when Simon Prepared Foods, Inc. started receiving consumer complaints about bits of clear, hard plastic lodged between the breading and the meat of the nuggets (yikes). Simon promptly notified the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, and luckily, nobody has reported falling ill or otherwise harmed at the meaty hands of the contaminated nuggets.

The bad news is that the bite-sized culprits have already been shipped to retailers nationwide, and according to the FSIS, might be stocked in the freezers of many consumers right now. Folks who have unknowingly purchased the plastic-bedded boneless bites are being instructed to discard them or return them to their place of purchase. At this time, no information has been released regarding a universal refund for the affected product.

The affected batch was produced on October 3, 2023, and is printed with the lot code KL3K03 and Best By date of December 26, 2024, both of which can be found on the side of the box. The recalled nuggets also bear the establishment number "P-20287," which is printed inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Another chapter in a sorely eventful saga

Mass food recalls like this seem to have become so common could deliver a devastating blow to the farming industry, and toward the food waste crisis on a national scale. In September alone, one recall saw more than 58,000 pounds of raw ground beef pulled from shelves (and by extension, wasted) across three states for possible E. coli contamination. As of November 2023, U.S. food recalls by sheer quantity are on track for a five-year record high.

The recall could also be lousy timing for TGI Fridays' PR due to the brand affiliation. The fast-casual chain has recently been embarking on a comprehensive rebrand, steering its menu toward offerings away from the chicken wings for which it's known toward modern fare like sushi and mocktails to appeal to a younger, more nightlife-oriented crowd. To weary, desensitized consumers, are undeclared allergens, bacterial contamination, and foreign materials becoming as commonplace on ingredient labels as soy and corn?