A “Lean Pocket” recall has been issued for nearly 200,000 pounds of frozen Spinach Artichoke Chicken sandwiches. It was discovered that some of the microwavable sandwiches produced on May 23, 2008, may contain small pieces of plastic. This could pose a risk of severe mouth, throat or intestinal injury.
The recalled Lean Pockets were sold by the Nestle Prepared Foods Company, based in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Lean Pockets are a low-calorie, stuffed sandwich, which are sold in various combinations of meats, cheese and vegetables within an enclosed crust. The recall only applies to Spinach Artichoke Chicken Lean Pockets, which are sold with two 4.5 oz. sandwiches in each package.
All of the impacted Lean Pockets were produced on May 23, 2008 and sold nationwide at retail establishments after that date. The product packaging indicates:
- “Lean Pockets Spinach Artichoke Chicken – 2 sandwiches”
- “Best Before” Date of “Nov 2009”
- Packaging Code starting with “8144544616”
- Establishment Number “P7721A”
Nestle Prepared Foods Company did not discover the pieces of plastic in their Lean Pockets during quality checks, allowing the frozen sandwiches to be commercially sold. However, since the products were sold, they have received a number of customer complaints, including reports of at least two injuries suffered by consumers who ate the chicken pockets.
In 2002, Nestle acquired Chef America, a pioneer in frozen, stuffed sandwiches, and established the Nestle Prepared Foods Company. The original sandwiches are still sold under the brand name “Hot Pockets” and consist of meats and cheese in a crust, which can be heated in a microwave. The Lean Pockets brand is a more recent low calorie version of the original sandwich and has a very low fat content.
According to Nestle, the Lean Pocket recall only applies to the Spinach Artichoke Chicken variety of the sandwiches and not for any other “Lean Pocket” or “Hot Pocket” products. However, the manufacturer has not yet given any indication how the pieces of plastic were able to make their way into the sandwiches and how they can be sure that other products do not contain the same hazard.
Consumers can contact Nestlé Consumer Services Center at (800) 350-5016. Product liability lawyers recommend that any consumers who have been injured by pieces of plastic in their “Lean Pockets” should seek immediate medical attention and preserve any uneaten portion of the sandwich and packaging.
UPDATE: On August 21, 2008, Nestle Prepared Foods, Inc. issued a Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pocket Recall for over 200,000 sandwiches which were also found to contain pieces of hard red plastic.