One Great Burger of New Jersey recalled 226,400 pounds of possibly spoiled ground beef sent to prisons in California and Oregon, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Company spokesman Frank Tobin said the privately-held company is continuing to search for a cause of the odor and discoloration complaints that prompted the recall. Tobin said none of the product was eaten and no illnesses have been reported.
The USDA said its investigation showed the meat was returned, repackaged and then redistributed to the prisons. Some of it was produced a year ago. However, the Class II recall has a low health risk, the agency said.Tobin confirmed the meat was repackaged after a retailer returned it due to questions about the ratios of fat to lean. The repackaged meat also was re-inspected by the USDA before it went to two distributors who then sent it on to the prisons. One Great Burger has distribution outlets nationwide for its products.
"Product is repackaged and redistributed all the time," he told Consumer Ally. "There was not a question of the quality of the food product ... everything was inspected and everything was wholesome."
Involved in the recall are 20-pound boxes of "ONEGREAT HAMBURGERS" with an item number of 02044 and an establishment number of 34575 within the USDA mark of inspection. The meat was produced between January 2010 and May 2010 and has "packed on" dates between July 2010 and November 2010.
The USDA is continuing to investigate the case. Consumers with questions about the recall can call the company's director of technical services, John Haug, at (973) 477-9039.
Just last week in an unrelated recall, some 34,000 pounds of organic ground beef and beef patties were taken out of grocery stores including some Costco and Harris Teeter locations over fears of e. coli contamination.
Company Recalls 113 Tons of Year-Old, Smelly Beef Bound for Prisons