3 food recall fiascos that’ll make you fear your fork

Not consumable food safety sign sign

We all have different palates, but when it comes to horse meat, road salt, metal, and bugs, we’re in general accord (via MySafetySign.com).

Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to ask how the sausage is made. Just ask the IKEA patrons across Europe who recently chowed down on the retailer’s iconic Swedish meatballs. Many a carnivore salivate just thinking of the meaty chunks of goodness, but public fondness may have waned last month when Czech authorities discovered that those IKEA meatballs contained traces of horse meat. Sound scrumptious? Whether or not you enjoy sipping mint juleps at Churchill Downs, you can probably understand why many people were repulsed. Unfortunately, recalls of foodstuffs aren’t a rarity – follow along as we explore a few freakishly foul food safety infractions.

Start your day with a bowl of frosted metal wheats.

Chemical storage no food permitted

What happens when your food is actually chemical laden? (via MySafetySign.com).

Imagine sitting down for breakfast and dousing a bowl of your favorite cereal with cold milk, only to discover that you also consumed pieces of metal. A few years back, Kellogg’s recalled boxes of their Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats which were laced with flexible metal mesh fragments, costing the cereal company an estimated $20 to $30 million. Even though Kellogg’s claimed that consumers weren’t in danger from the metal fragments, it made Mini-Wheat faithful weary of their allegiance to the cereal.

Is your baby drinking beetle juice?

Baby being fed

Proper nutrition and untainted food in a baby’s diet is crucial (via FightBac.org).

The manufacturer of Similac (a powdered infant formula), Abbott Laboratories, performed a recall of just under five million units in 2010 following consumer reports that their product had been contaminated with beetles. The Similac formula, made in a Michigan factory, was removed from shelves in the U.S., Guam,  and Puerto Rico, among other Caribbean countries. This cost Abbott an estimated $100 million loss due to sales returns. This highlights the importance of clean manufacturing standards. After all, who likes listening to crying babies?

Road safety doesn’t equate to food safety.

Road salt

Road salt doesn’t have a place in the kitchen, or your stomach (via StarTribune.com).

Most food contains salt. However, health officials in Poland last year recalled an assortment of foods that were found to contain industrial salt. This type of salt, the kind that’s spread on wintry roadways, is not meant for human consumption. Even though tests determined the amount of road salt wasn’t a health hazard, 500,000 pounds of pickles, sauerkraut, preserved vegetables, bread, and other products were withdrawn from the market. Despite the swift reaction, Poland’s Agriculture Minister expressed that the episode, attributable to “one or more cheats,” unfairly tarnished the country’s food reputation and trustworthiness with trade partners.

These are simply icing on the cake; safety investigations and food recalls are nauseatingly common across the globe. We’re interested to hear from you – have you caught wind of a recall preemptively, or had the misfortune of realizing it after the fact?