'Unsafe Lead Levels': Canned Roast Beef Products Recalled Over Possible Contamination

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Roast Beef

A company is recalling 525,717 pounds of its canned roast beef with gravy after learning that they may contain "unsafe levels of lead." The recall affects products sold under several brand names.

The problem was discovered during routine surveillance sampling carried out by a state partner, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) noted in the recall alert. Crider Foods, along with the FSIS, then determined that the contamination stemmed from a spice mix from an "outside source."

The recall affects 12-ounce cans of Hargis House Roast Beef and Gravy, Clover Valley Fully Cooked Roast Beef with Gravy, Kroger Roast Beef with Gravy, Hostess Roast Beef with Gravy, Laura Lynn Roast Beef with Gravy, ARMOUR Roast Beef with Gravy and Harvest Creek Roast Beef with Gravy.

Affected products have the "best buy" dates of 10/22/2022 and 3/15/2023 and have the establishment number "EST. 31812" on their cans. These products were distributed nationwide, according to the FSIS. Photos of their labels are available here.

Lead can occur in food because of its presence in the environment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said. For instance, contamination may happen if the plants grown for fruits and vegetables have absorbed the lead on the soil, or perhaps if the water used during the manufacturing process is contaminated by plumbing that contains lead.

Although lead levels in food has "decreased dramatically" from the 1970s to the 1990s, low levels of the heavy metal can still be detected in some food products because of its "continued presence" in the environment, the FDA explained.

So far, there is "no known 'safe' blood lead concentration" levels, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted, adding that young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning because they absorb four to five times as much ingested lead as adults do "from a given source."

"Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time, especially in children. The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage can occur," the Mayo Clinic explained. "Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults. Very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness and death."

As for the current recall, the company has not received confirmed reports of adverse reactions related to consuming the affected products as of the recall notice. However, those who may have bought the products are being advised not to consume them and instead throw them away or return them from where they were bought.

Roast Beef

Photo: Pixabay

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