Metal found in chicken may negatively affect meat industry


Jimmy Carroll

An image of the outside of Tyson World Headquarters
Jimmy Carroll explains the changes the meat industry needs to make in order to avoid future recalls and consumption mishaps. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

The meat industry may be under attack— by metal. Or, maybe it isn’t. Nearly 2 million pounds of chicken are being recalled due to metal this year in select states. Now, no one wants metal in their meat, clearly.

The chicken affected recently was produced from late October until the beginning of November and has been shipped to several states, including Pennsylvania, California, Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arizona and Arkansas.

Simmons Prepared Food, in Arkansas, was one of many companies to hear of their chicken being affected. They have been proudly serving chicken since 1949. Back in March, Tyson foods recalled nearly 70,000 pounds of chicken which were thought to have metal fragments.

I myself am a huge meat consumer. I love chicken, fish, steaks, etc. However, I think this metal issue will only affect the meat industry for so long. The occurrence happened only recently in March and then again in late October. The meat industry is a major industry for everyone—there may need to be health and safety codes for the production and processing buildings.

I have purchased several types of meat from the grocery store, from fresh cut steaks to frozen crispy chicken fingers. To my satisfaction, the meat tasted great. I am not sure if I will be cautious as a result of metal now appearing, but it makes me wonder what working conditions are like and how meat is prepared and shipped across the country. It certainly needs to be checked.

Here’s a little history. The Union Stockyards in South Omaha comes to mind, open from 1883 until 1999, 116 years of fame. The Livestock Exchange Building is now a national landmark. Having a family history of working in the meatpacking buildings in South Omaha, this is very important to me. I had grandparents and great-grandparents who did hard work for the stockyards, attempting to make a living for their families. It required plenty of hard work.

The meat industry feeds roughly 326 million Americans every year and is the largest segment of U.S. Agriculture. Since 2017, meat and poultry production has totaled about 200 million pounds. That is a lot of meat.

As most of us know, we rely heavily on farmers for production of cattle and their meat to sell in stores. If they aren’t able to raise reliable livestock, then that could pose a problem. Farmers work so diligently to raise the best live-stock possible – from grass fed beef, to organic, to natural beef – it’s all important. I could talk all day long about types of beef, but that isn’t the primary problem.

Meat is meat. It’s food. From uncooked food, to perfectly cooked food, to overcooked food, metal may sound like just another big no-no. It’s time to inspect meat packing buildings to see what exactly goes down. Metal is never safe to eat.