Monday, January 13, 2014

Tyson recalls mechanically seperated chicken meat due to the potential for Salmonella

Tyson Foods is recalling 33.840 pounds of mechanically separated chicken products due to the potential for contamination by Salmonella Heidelberg. This is institutional use product – 10 lb. chubs / 40 lb. cases.

The issue was discovered after seven inmates in a Tennessee correctional facility become ill with two requiring hospitalization.

Mechanically separated meat (MSM) is meat that is recovered from the bone through the use of a machine that presses the carcass against a screen or sieve, allowing the meat to be separated from the bone. The recovered meat has the appearance of a paste. This product can be reformed to make items such as chicken nuggets, or added to make chicken sausage or hot dog products.

Being a raw meat product, it has the potential to carry pathogens that are inherently present on the poultry including Salmonella and Campylobacter. USDA testing indicates that the level of Salmonella and Campylobacter tend to be high in this product type, mostly due to increased handling.

It is a low cost protein product…think sustainability or increased utilization.  It is easy to see why this cheaper source of meat product is utilized by the correctional facilities, but now will there need to be consideration for pre-cooking or irradiating this product?

USDA News Release
Missouri Firm Recalls Mechanically Separated Chicken Products Due To Possible Salmonella Heidelberg Contamination

Class I Recall 001-2014
Health Risk: High Jan 10, 2014

Congressional and Public Affairs
Felicia Thompson
(202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2014 – Tyson Foods, Inc. a Sedalia, Mo., establishment, is recalling approximately 33,840 pounds of mechanically separated chicken products that may be contaminated with a Salmonella Heidelberg strain, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The mechanically separated chicken products were produced on Oct. 11, 2013. The following products are subject to recall:

40-lb. cases, containing four, 10-lb. chubs of “TYSON MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN.” 

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-13556” inside the USDA mark of inspection with case code 2843SDL1412 – 18. These products were shipped for institutional use only, nationwide. The product is not available for consumer purchase in retail stores.

FSIS was notified of a Salmonella Heidelberg cluster of illnesses on Dec. 12, 2013. Working in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), FSIS determined that there is a link between the mechanically separated chicken products from Tyson Foods and the illness cluster in a Tennessee correctional facility. Based on epidemiological and traceback investigations, seven case-patients at the facility have been identified with illnesses, with two resulting in hospitalization. Illness onset dates range from Nov. 29, 2013 to Dec. 5, 2013. FSIS continues to work with TDH on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.    

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume poultry products that has been cooked to a temperature of 165 °F. The only way to confirm that poultry products are cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature,

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Tyson Foods’ consumer relations department at 866-886-8456. Media with questions should contact Worth Sparkman, Tyson Foods’ public relations manager, at 479-290-6358.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at or via smartphone at The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at:

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