Perdue Farms recalls chicken nuggets for possible wood contamination

/ CBS/AP

Recalls of hazardous meat, poultry increasing

Perdue Farms is recalling more than 68,000 pounds of chicken nuggets because they may be contaminated with wood.

The gluten-free Organics Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets were produced on Oct. 25 and were sold at stores nationwide. They have a UPC bar code of 72745-80656 and the establishment number of P-33944 in the U.S. Agriculture Department inspection mark.

The USDA says Perdue received three complaints that wood was found in the nuggets.

The USDA says there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions. However, the product should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Perdue says it is recalling the product out of an abundance of caution.

Food recalls can be costly for companies, deadly for consumers

Recalls of hazardous meat and poultry have gone up by more than 80 percent in the last six years, according to a new report out Thursday. One in six Americans get sick every year from eating contaminated food leading to at least 3,000 deaths per year – 450 from salmonella alone.

"Something is rotten in our slaughterhouses and our fields, and so common sense protections from farm to fork can help prevent that," said Adam Garber, a researcher for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the organization behind the report.

Both the FDA and USDA said their safety inspectors are still working despite the partial government shutdown. USDA did not comment on the report.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted a series of responses to the report Thursday afternoon. He said: "We appreciate US PIRG's interest in the safety of the nation's food system and we always welcome a larger conversation on the topic. Public health is our top priority and FDA is working hard to ensure the U.S. food supply remains among the safest in the world. While we agree with the premise that prevention is always better than a corrective action, such as executing a recall, there should be caution in using recall numbers alone as the sole metric for gauging long-term performance trends in food safety."

First published on January 18, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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