Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Golf Ball Contamination in Frozen Hash Browns Prompts Recall

Sometimes recalls will involve situations that seem to make no sense. Take for example the recent recall issued by McCain Foods USA, Inc., a maker of frozen hash brown potatoes, due to golf ball contamination. Yes. Golf ball contamination is a thing, and it may or may not be what you expect.

The manufacturer explained that golf balls were inadvertently 'harvested' along with the potatoes that go into their frozen hash browns. And apparently, the food manufacturer failed to spot the golf balls amidst the spuds, and sent the plastic balls to be hashed into the browns, packaged, frozen, and distributed to grocers all over despite containing "extraneous golf ball material." Fortunately no injuries have been reported. However, consumers are being advised to throw away or return Roundy or Harris Teeter southern hash browns.

Details of the Recall

The voluntary recall issued by McCain Foods USA applies to the following two products, which were distributed to retail grocers in January 2017:

  • Roundy's Brand, 2 lbs. bag of southern style hash browns
  • Harris Teeter Brand, 2 lbs. bag of southern style hash browns

Roundy's Brand products are distributed in Illinois and Wisconsin, while Harris Teeter Brand products are distributed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington D.C..

Despite there being no reported injuries, the recall was prompted due to the safety concerns attendant with a person attempting to eat the plastic and other materials contained in golf balls. While the recall may be somewhat comedic, it is also certainly a serious safety issue. A person could potentially choke, crack a tooth, injure their mouth, or insides, if they accidentally ingest hard, sharp plastics.

Food Contamination Injuries

When a person is injured as a result of food contamination, the distributor, retailer, and/or preparer could all face civil liability. Frequently, these types of injuries are related to cases of food poisoning. Fortunately though, for people who bite into golf pieces mixed into their hash browns, the same legal remedies available to victims of food poisoning will generally be available to food contamination injury victims.

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