The recall has been filed as Class I, which is the highest risk category.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our food supply chain in momentous ways, from raising the cost of numerous grocery items to causing a shortage of meat and cheese, a surplus of lobster and grapes used to make Champagne, and now: serious food safety issues.

Late last week, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a Class I recall of approximately 38,406 pounds of beef. The items—classified as "boneless beef head meat products"—were sold by JBS Food Canada ULC in Brooks, Alberta, Canada. According to the USDA, the meat was imported into the United States without proper inspection. "The problem was discovered when FSIS determined through routine surveillance that the product had by-passed FSIS import reinspection," the recall report states.

What does this mean, exactly? Basically, this particular batch of raw beef slipped through the cracks of the FSIS' inspection (the CDC and FDA obviously have a lot on their plates right now, which is likely the reason why this occurred). There's no way to know or prove at this time that there was anything dangerous within the meat—it just means that it has not been classified as safe for human consumption by our government's regulatory agencies and should therefore be avoided at all costs.

The raw, frozen boneless beef head meat was imported on July 13, 2020 and later processed into ground beef by an outside company. It was sent to distribution centers in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina (for further distribution to retail locations). The items bear the establishment number “EST. 11126” inside their USDA mark of inspection.

These are the products currently subject to recall:

  • 80-lb. boxes containing eight, 10-lb. chubs of “BALTER MEAT COMPANY 73/27 GROUND BEEF,” with “USE BY/FREEZE BY” dates of 08/09/2020 or 08/10/2020, pack dates of 072020, 072120, or 072220, and lot codes of 2020A or 2030A represented on the label.

To view a PDF image of the label on these potentially dangerous beef products, see here.

The good news is that there have been zero confirmed cases of adverse reactions caused by the products to date. However, the FSIS is concerned that many consumers may have the recalled beef in their fridges and freezers at home. If this is the case, throw the items away; do not consume them.

According to the USDA, consumers with questions about the recall can contact the JBS USA Consumer Hotline at (800) 727-2333, and anyone with food safety questions may call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to MPHotline@usda.gov.

For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day here.