Nestlé Prepared Foods has issued a recall for certain Hot Pocket products, warning that they may be contaminated with pieces of glass and hard plastic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall on Friday. It applies to 54-ounce 12 packs of pepperoni Hot Pockets, with certain expiration dates.
The recall reportedly concerns pepperoni Hot Pockets 12 packs with a "best-by" date listed in February of 2022. The lot codes on the recalled pastries are 0318544624, 0319544614, 0320544614, and 0321544614. The manufacturer noted that customers can also look out for the establishment number "EST. 7721A" if they're worried about their food. The USDA pointed out that the sharp detritus in the contaminated hot pockets could be hot if not caught in time, creating an added danger.
Nestlé estimates that about 762,615 pounds of the potentially contaminated Hot Pockets were shipped to stores all over the country. Retailers should now be pulling them from shelves, but customers should be wary as well. The packages in question weigh 54 ounces each.
This is what the USDA calls a Class I recall, which means it involves a "health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."
According to a report by CNN, there have been four customer complaints so far about the contamination this recall warns about. One customer suffered a minor oral injury, but the conditions of others were not reported. The USDA advises customers to return the Hot Pockets to the place of purchase for a refund, or simply throw the spoiled food away.
Food recalls are always a challenge for manufacturers, distributors and customers, but they can be especially significant in times of economic recession like these. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. is still suffering severe economic consequences, and foot security is becoming a bigger issue for many families. According to a report by The Ventura County Star this week, its regional California food bank distributed about 138 percent more food to those in need last year than in 2019. Food Share CEO Monica White said that this was a pattern across the country, and told the paper that there was little doubt of the cause.
"Nearly, half the people who are coming to the pantries, it is their first time, and it is COVID related," she said. At the same time, food banks around the country are struggling to stay staffed amid the rising cases of the virus, and to scale up their operations to meet the increased need. Federal officials are considering more food security measures in the next economic stimulus package later this month.