Recall: Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers

November 18, 2008 at 9:29 am

Recalled: Frozen meals from Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers

Two major food companies have issued unrelated warnings about thousands of packages of two popular frozen food products, one of which might contain pieces of plastic, the other, undeclared dairy ingredients that could cause serious illness, even death, in allergic individuals.What to do

The recalls, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, include Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine, manufactured by Nestlé, and Weight Watchers Smart Ones, made by Heinz. Both products were still on store shelves at the time the recall was announced.

The larger recall encompasses approximately 97,000 packages of “Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Pot Stickers,” featuring chicken and vegetable dumplings with rice in a dipping sauce. Consumers reported discovering small pieces of plastic in the meals, though there have been no reports of injuries or illness. The 9-ounce packages were made on Sept. 19, 2005, according to Nestlé marketing communications manager Roz O’Hearn. They were distributed to supermarkets nationwide and bear packaging code “5262595512,” the words “Best before Oct. 2006,” and the establishment number “P-7991” printed on the right-side flap. The recall has been classified by the USDA as a Class II action. That means there’s only a remote possibility of an adverse health threat to those who consume a problem product.

The other recall involves fewer products, but the potential for dire health consequences is far greater among those with an allergy to milk products, because there’s no labeling on the products to indicate they contain milk protein. Specifically, the recall involves approximately 2,775 packages of frozen “Weight Watchers Smart Ones Sirloin Beef and Asian Style Vegetables” in teriyaki sauce. The affected 9-ounce packages were made in late November and bear establishment number “EST. 1869” inside the USDA inspection mark and a “best if used by” date of 11/07. Each box also has the code “MS 5 L 11 BD 2.” The products were sold by supermarkets in Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To date, there have been no reports of illness. Contact your doctor if you suspect you’re suffering from a food allergy. Symptoms may include throat swelling, breathing trouble, or a rash. A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to a certain food, usually within minutes after the food has been consumed.

Peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts and pecans), fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat account for 90 percent of all food allergies, according to the USDA.

 

Lean Cuisine customers should call the company’s consumer service department at 800-993-8625 with questions and to request a coupon for another product equal in value to their purchase. They should then dispose of the existing product.

If you have a Smart Ones meal, call Heinz at 800-551-0140 to learn how to return the package to the company for a refund, said Robin Teets, Heinz’s senior manager of communications. For more information, go to www.foodrecallonline.com.

The USDA also operates a toll-free food safety hotline at 888-674-6854.

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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