This May Be the Most Bizarre Food Recall of All Time

April 25, 2017

Well, here's some news that's been lighting up food and sports blogs alike. Last Friday, McCain Foods USA, Inc., manufacturers of Roundy’s Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns and Harris Teeter Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns, issued a voluntary recall for both products.

Their justification? The products, they feared, may have been laced accidentally with “extraneous golf ball materials” that were harvested alongside the potatoes, posing quite a few risks to consumers, from choking hazards to potential mouth lacerations.

First, the specifics: the Roundy’s hash browns were sold in Marianos, Metro Market, and Pick ‘n Save supermarkets in Illinois and Wisconsin. The Harris Teeter hash browns were sold, meanwhile, in the Carolinas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Virginia (both the FDA and McCain's declined to specify which supermarkets, exactly, this variety was sold in). All affected products were distributed after January 19 of this year, and they have a production code date of B170119 stamped on them.

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McCain stressed that there were no specific incident reports that prompted this recall. (Thank God!) The FDA is advising anyone who’s bought these products to throw them out or return them.

Folks, there’s no way around it: This is the most bizarre news I’ve come across in quite some time, certainly in the realm of food recalls. No other recall in recent memory, from salmonella in Jalapeño chips to listeria in raw milk cheese, has involved chopped remnants of what you’d find on a putting green. All the more reason to make hash browns on your own, I guess.

What's the most bizarre food recall you remember? Let us know in the comments.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Moshee April 26, 2017
Isn't this hilarious!!?? I heard it on our local news the other day (in NC land of golf courses) and thought "Well, yeah, prob someone was hitting balls into their planting field and the balls got pulled into the harvester." So it's not THAT weird coming from this area but still funny. :)
Windischgirl April 25, 2017
My family and friends have a distribution list on which we share news of the weird, especially if it presents the opportunity to rib one of the members. My uncle, an avid golfer, took the hit this time--we were hassling him to improve his drive while avoiding potato fields. We also speculated about how one could confuse potatoes and golf balls, especially once they were washed. Those potatoes do get washed, right??
Bevi April 25, 2017
Here is the FDA Safety Recall Page: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/
Whiteantlers April 25, 2017
Too weird! The mind boggles...