CBS2 Investigates: Where Did That Come From? When Foreign Objects End Up In Food

By CBS2 Investigates.


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The last thing you expect to find in your food are metal shards and other foreign objects.

Increasingly, manufacturers are recalling products because they contain mystery bits and pieces.

“It looked like a piece of wood, could have been a piece of metal. I didn’t know,” Beverly Figueroa said.

Figueroa did know that the foreign object didn’t belong in the middle of the corn muffin she was preparing for her grandson.

“I just became very upset, because if I hadn’t cut it open he would have just bit into it,” she said.

From coffee cakes and ravioli to muffins and cookies, dozens of manufactured foods have been recently recalled due to contamination with foreign objects — some of which have been metal shavings.

“Metal shavings would occur because of either overuse or friction, that would be from a machine that hasn’t been properly maintained,” Food Safety Expert, Brian Buckley said.

Buckley — with The Institute of Culinary Education — said he can understand how something might slip through the cracks on a smaller scale.

“I got a piece of steel wool in a salad. I do understand that there is human error,” Buckley said.

Buckley said large manufacturing plants should have systems in place to prevent foreign material like metal, from falling into ingredients. They should also screen for it.

“They use a lot of magnets in large-scale food manufacturing to essentially try to catch the metal shavings at some point,” he said.

At least two food producers; ConAgra Foods and Weis Markets, blamed the potential contamination of some of the products from small metal fragments, on their sugar supplier.

“That’s entirely possible. Sugar is an ingredient in a huge variety of foods,” Buckley said.

The Food & Drug Administration is said to be investigating a large sugar company, but would not reveal the name or which producers received their sugar.

As for Figueroa, she said she’s losing faith in the safety of our food.

“I’m suspect of all food now,” Figueroa said. “It kind of makes you not enjoy what you’re eating sometimes.”

Figueroa took the muffins back to the store, where she said, a manager told her he thought the foreign object was a piece of cardboard.

Experts said if you find something in your food that doesn’t belong there, contact the health department.

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