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Taco Bell pulls 2.3M pounds of ground beef

The seasoned meat was suspected of being contaminated with metal shavings.
Photograph courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell said it has pulled 2.3 million pounds of ground beef out of its restaurants and distribution centers after a customer reported finding a metal shaving in a menu item containing meat from the same supplier.

The Yum Brands chain issued a statement saying its restaurants were 100% free of the meat as of yesterday morning, but a recall is still underway by the supplier, Kenosha Beef International, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The processor said it had fielded complaints from three customers.

It rated the danger “high,” but added, “There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.”

The USDA said it was concerned that some restaurants still have the meat in their freezers. A description of the product indicates it’s produced expressly for Taco Bell. Cartons containing 5-pound plastic bags of the meat are labeled “TACO BELL SEASONED MEAT Taco and Burrito Filling,” according to the USDA.

The boxes are also stamped with the tracking info, “EST. 10130.” The “EST.” stands for “establishment.”

Taco Bell said it withdrew the meat from its supply chain starting Friday. Restaurants that would have used the meat are located in 21 states in the Northeast, the northern Southeast and the eastern Midwest.

“As soon as we received the first consumer complaint, we immediately acted to remove the product from the affected restaurants and proactively worked with the supplier to inform the USDA of our steps to protect our guests,” Julie Masino, president of Taco Bell’s U.S. operations, said in a statement.

The chain said the meat was processed on a single production line in a lone plant. It was then shipped to distribution centers in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia.

Kenosha CEO Dennis Vignieri provided his phone number in the announcement of the recall and invited concerned consumers to call him directly.

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