Nestle Prepared Foods Company is recalling roughly 26,400 pounds of its Hot Pockets products.
The frozen not-ready-to-eat products failed to clearly disclose known allergens such as eggs, milk, soy and wheat on their labels, according to the USDA.
The items affected include the 2,400-lb. bulk packages of "Nestle Hot Pockets BBQ Burger Bites," the 16,800-lb. bulk packages of "Nestle Hot Pockets 3 Cheese Bacon Bites" and the 7,200-lb. bulk packages of "Nestle Hot Pockets Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Snack Bites."
Products affected were produced on Sept. 21, 2016, Jan. 10, 2017 and Jan. 13, 2017.
"Consumers who have purchased or received these products are urged not to consume them," warns the USDA. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
The poor of Missouri are particularly at risk; the products were donated to a charity that distributed them to a food bank. The food bank then sold the products to other food banks in the state.
These items do not have the USDA mark of inspection and do not list the ingredients.
Specifically, the Missouri food banks affected include the Gleaner Basket/Monark Southern Baptist Church/ANT Enterprises in Neosho, KIDs Across America in Golden, River of Faith Church in Seligman, Teen Challenge in Neosho, United Methodist Church in Noel and We Care for 4 States in Joplin, Food Safety Items reports.
So far, there have been no reported illnesses, but those concerned are advised to promptly seek medical attention.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from tingling sensations to rashes and itching. They can also be more severe, making it hard to breathe and swallow, reports Food Poisoning Bulletin.
Those with questions can contact Nestle Consumer Engagement Services at 800-681-1676 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recall has sparked controversy. Some argue the recall is not a big deal and the food banks should be allowed to distribute the products anyway.
"It is downright idiotic to say that these food items should not be consumed by hungry people in need just because it did not explicitly state in a separate warning that the product contains allergens," opined one person in the Food Safety News' comments section. "It makes sense to release this information to inform people, but if no members in a household have those allergies, the food is perfectly fine to eat ... The milk and wheat allergens are obvious based on the food item, and eggs for most of them."
"I completely agree," added another. "Also, why not add a sticker to the package with the allergen information, rather than destroy the product?"