The 8 Weirdest Food Recalls in America – Scientific American

Some people are getting a breakfast that’s not par for the course: golf balls in their breakfast scrambles.


Manufacturer McCain Foods USA has recalled bags of frozen hash browns that might be contaminated with “extraneous golf ball materials.” The hash browns were sold under the Roundy’s and Harris Teeter brands. It’s not clear whether, perhaps, there was a driving range next door to the potato field. But, somehow, golf balls were harvested alongside potatoes.


It’s just another day at the FDA.


Federal health officials are responsible for taking the reins when everything from bits of plastic to bat remains show up in the foods we chow down on every day. Some of those recalls are run through the Food and Drug Administration, and others come down from the US Department of Agriculture.


Those recalls can range from peculiar to downright baffling.


1. Little bites of plastic


The iconic Entenmann’s pastries proudly displayed in grocery store aisles are baked with loads of sugar, probably a little love, and in one case, small pieces of plastic. Manufacturer Bimbo Bakeries recalled Little Bites Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip Muffins, and the bountiful 20-piece Variety Pack of baked goods in 2016. The company said the contamination was caused by a manufacturing failure at a bakery in Illinois.


2. Literally toxic “Toxic Waste Bubble Gum”


Who would’ve thought a product named “Toxic Waste Bubble Gum” would, in fact, have toxic materials inside? The FDA burst the manufacturer’s bubble in 2011 after the agency tested the bubble gum and found it contained elevated levels of lead — 0.189 parts per million to be precise. The FDA only allows for 0.1 parts per million in food products. The bubble gum — which was imported from Pakistan and distributed by a company in Indiana — was recalled.


3. An unpleasant ice cream sundae


A scoop of Creamy Creations Caramel Pecan Turtle Ice Cream once came with chocolate-covered pecans, caramel clusters, and, potentially, wood chips. In 2016, food manufacturer H-E-B recalled the frozen treat after realizing the half-gallon tubs might have wood pieces inside.


4. No such thing as a plastic detector for chicken nuggets


More than 132,000 pounds of chicken nuggets were recalled last year after Tyson Foods found out they might have bits of hard plastic inside the nuggets. The USDA fielded complaints from naive nugget consumers who said they’d found strips of plastic up to 21 millimeters long inside their chicken. Tyson said it normally runs its chicken nuggets through a metal detector — who knew? — but that it didn’t catch the plastic pieces.


5. Froot Loops with a bite


Nothing says Saturday morning like a bowl of Froot Loops with a whiff of a waxy, metallic odor. After consumers reported getting a nasty odor when they cracked open their Corn Pops, the Kellogg Company recalled a handful of its sugary breakfast staples in June 2010. The unpleasant odor was blamed on the cereal box liner. The recall followed a series of other breakfast debacles for the Kellogg Company: Listeria turned up in the plant that produces Eggo Buttermilk waffles, and the FTC took issue with the company’s lofty claim that Rice Krispies can help support a kid’s immune system.


6. Prepackaged salad with a prepackaged bat


Spring salads were pulled from store shelves earlier this month after a dead bat turned up in a packaged salad sold in a Florida grocery store. Health officials monitored the two individuals who ate the salad for rabies and didn’t note any signs of the condition. The salads, manufactured by Fresh Express and sold in Wal-Mart stores, were recalled.


7. Flowers in your hair, or hair in your flour?


A healthy loaf of bread has a simple list of ingredients: water, yeast, butter, whole wheat flour with hair nestled inside. The FDA oversaw a recall in 2016 of bags of whole wheat flour that ran the risk of having “soft nylon fragments of mesh resembling white hair” inside the bag. Thankfully, Morrison Milling Company said it hadn’t actually heard of anyone finding mesh while making baked goods, but it couldn’t be sure the foreign objects hadn’t snuck in. A faulty screen at its manufacturing facility allowed the fragments to slip through the production line.


Republished with permission from STAT. This article originally appeared on April 24, 2017

The 8 Weirdest Food Recalls in America – Scientific American

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