USDA issues public health alert for ready-to-eat tamales that may contain hard plastic

Ready-to-eat tamales may contain hard plastic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert Sunday for ready-to-eat chicken and pork tamale products due to concerns that they may be contaminated with hard plastic.

According to the agency, the tamale products in question may contain U.S. Food and Drug Administration-regulated diced tomatoes in puree that have been recalled by the producer due to potential contamination with “extraneous materials," and the hard plastic may pose a choking hazard or cause damage to teeth or gums.

“FSIS is issuing this public health alert out of the utmost of caution to ensure that consumers are aware that these products, which bear the USDA mark of inspection, should not be consumed,” the agency stated in a news release.

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The frozen tamale items were produced between Oct. 22, 2020, and Nov. 9, 2020, by Tucson Tamale Wholesale Co. LLC, based in Tucson, Arizona, where employees identified pieces of hard plastic in the cans of diced tomatoes in puree that they received from their ingredients supplier.

The ingredients supplier initiated a recall of the diced tomatoes in puree in partnership with the FDA, and there have been no confirmed reports to date of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products, FSIS stated.

The following products are subject to the public health alert:

• Cases containing eight individually-packed tamales with the labels “TUCSON TAMALE GREEN CHILE CHICKEN TAMALE” or “TUCSON TAMALE Green Chile Chicken Tamales” with lot codes F20296 and F20309 and sell-by dates of 10/23/22 and 11/05/22.

• Cases containing six packages with two tamales each of “TUCSON TAMALE GREEN CHILE CHICKEN TAMALES” with lot codes F20309 and F20296 and sell-by dates of 10/23/22 and 11/05/22.

• Cases containing 30 tamales of “TUCSON TAMALE Green Chile Pork & Cheese Tamales” with lot codes F20303 and F20307 and sell-by dates of 10/30/22 and 11/03/22.

• Cases containing eight individually-packed tamales of “TUCSON TAMALE GREEN CHILE PORK & CHEESE TAMALE” with lot codes F20307 and F20314 and sell-by dates of 11/03/22 and 11/10/22.

• Cases containing six packages with two tamales each of “TUCSON TAMALE GREEN CHILE PORK & CHEESE TAMALES” with lot codes F20303 and F20307 and sell-by dates 10/30/22 and 11/03/22.

• Packages containing two tamales of “TUCSON TAMALE GREEN CHILE PORK & CHEESE TAMALES” with lot codes F20303, F20307 and F20302 and sell-by dates of 10/29/22, 10/30/22 and 11/03/22.

• Cases containing 30 tamales of “TUCSON TAMALE Green Chile Chicken Tamales” with lot code F20296 and sell-by date of 10/23/22.

According to FSIS, the products, bearing establishment number “EST. 45860” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were sold online and also shipped to distributors for nationwide retail and restaurant distribution.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.