Lean Cuisine: Did emergency button spark recall?

Lean Cuisine spaghetti and meatballs is recalled after five customers find plastic pieces in Lean Cuisine packages.

Courtesy of US Department of Agriculture
Nestlé is recalling more than 17,000 packages of Lean Cuisine spaghetti and meatballs because pieces of plastic, perhaps from a broken emergency stop button, were found in a few packages.

Nestlé is recalling a small amount of Lean Cuisine food because pieces of red plastic were found inside packages by five consumers.

The red plastic appears to be from an emergency stop button, the company says. And that’s something of a mystery, because Nestle’s plant in Gaffney, S.C., which produced the recalled packages, had no reports of a broken button. Also, the plant was designed so that no emergency-stop button would be near areas where food was in transit.

“We’re continuing our investigation,” says Roz O’Hearn, a spokeswoman at Nestlé USA in Solon, Ohio. “If it were an emergency stop button, we've got about half of it.”

That is why Nestlé is recalling an hour’s worth of production of its Lean Cuisine Simple Favorites Spaghetti with Meatballs and urging consumers to check their freezers.

Here’s what to look for: First check the UPC (the bar code) number to make sure it’s the right product: PC 13800-10390. Then look for the production code, which is printed on the gray “proof of purchase” panel on the right end flap of the package, just below the ingredients statement.

All 17,280 recalled packages will have this production code: 0298595519 P. It must include the P, which denotes the hour that it was made. So far, the pieces have been reported by consumers in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

If you have a recalled package, call the company at (866) 606-8264 or e-mail it at leancuisine@casupport.com . Nestlé says it will provide a replacement coupon for consumers. If there are plastic parts in the food, Nestlé may make arrangements to retrieve it to help in the investigation.

The company says it believes the contamination occurred within the span of a few minutes, but that it’s recalling the entire hour of production “out of an abundance of caution.” The company now can pinpoint Lean Cuisine packages down to the minute when they were produced.

Nestlé is contacting its suppliers to see if one of the Lean Cuisine ingredients shipments could have introduced the plastic into its plant.

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