A Hot Pockets recall was issued by Nestlé USA, as the sandwiches may contain “diseased and unsound” meat. The Hot Pockets recall is limited to all Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets, including the Croissant Crust variety.
Officials said the meat was traced to the Rancho Feeding Corporation, which was cited by the US Department of Agriculture for distributing tainted meat. In their announcement, the USDA noted that Rancho Feeding “processed diseased and unsound animals… without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.”
The initial recall included nearly 9 million pounds of beef products. According to the USDA, the meat was determined to be “unfit for human consumption.” A majority of the products were offal and variety meats, including cheeks, feet, heads, hearts, lips, and oxtail.
The meat was processed between January 1, 2013 and January 7, 2013. The packaging was stamped with the establishment number EST. 527 and the case code “3” or “4.” The products were distributed to numerous outlets in California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Washington.
Although no illness was reported at this time, the recall was classified as a Class I, which is considered a high health risk:
“This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”
The USDA continues to investigate where the meat was distributed. Although Rancho Feeding Corporation provides beef to numerous sources, a large potion of their products are sold to wholesale outlets. The wholesale outlets then distribute the products elsewhere.
Nestlé USA discovered some of the meat was used in the production of their Hot Pockets sandwiches. As reported by Nestlé USA, the Hot Pockets recall is limited to the Philly Steak and Cheese variety. Company officials determined the tainted meat was used in their Chatsworth, California, plant.
Included in the recall are the 8x9oz, 4x54oz, and 4×22.5oz, sizes of the Hot Pockets Philly Steak and Cheese. The packages contain UPC codes 43695 07107 8, 43695 07520 5, and 43695 15990 5.
Also included in the recall are Hot Pockets Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese 8x9oz packages stamped with the UPC code 43695 05634 1.
Nestlé USA assures their customers that the recall was voluntary and was initiated to protect “the health and safety of its consumers.”
Consumers are urged to return the products to the place of purchase for a refund. Nestlé Consumer Services can be reached at 800-392-4057.
The USDA said consumers can learn more at AskKaren.gov or by calling the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
The Hot Pockets recall is a grim reminder that some of the tainted meat is still unaccounted for. The USDA urges consumers with medical concerns to consult their family doctor.