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A major recall has been announced for products from DiGiorno Pizza, Lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s. The maker of these products, Nestlé, announced the recall after customers reported finding shards of glass in their meals. Consuming glass can be extremely hazardous and in some cases can even cause death. The contamination has put millions of people at risk.
If you’ve purchased any of the recalled Nestle products, you may have already consumed glass without knowing it. If you experience pain chewing or swallowing, abdominal pain, or other medical problems, you need to speak to a lawyer. John Foy & Associates is one of the largest and most experienced recall law firms in the country. We always represent the consumer, never big corporations. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get a free consultation today.
What happened and why is Nestle recalling these items?
Nestle announced on March 10 that it would be recalling nearly 3 million units from four well known brands:
- Four varieties of DiGiorno pizza
- Five varieties of Lean Cuisine meals
- Four varieties of Stouffer’s lasagnas
- One variety of Stouffer’s spinach souffle
Although these are different brands, they’re all owned by Nestle and apparently share ingredient sources, processing plants or both.
According to Nestle, they received multiple reports from customers finding fragments of glass in some or all of these meals. Nestle has been slow to give details on the reports, but says no one has reported an injury yet. It’s possible that people have been injured and simply don’t realize it was from eating broken glass.
How did the glass get into the Nestle/DiGiorno products?
Nestle has launched its own internal investigation, and believes that the glass is associated with the spinach that is a common ingredient in all of these products. However, the company has offered no explanation of how or why glass would have gotten into a spinach supply.
Glass is a perpetual threat in large food processing facilities. The FDA has strict guidelines for how food manufacturers should work to minimize the risk of glass fragments (“glass inclusion”), and detect it if it happens.
One common source for glass fragments in a food facility is glass containers. When glass containers are used alongside automated equipment, there’s a risk for chipping or shattering it and contaminating the food. Although spinach itself does not ship in glass containers, it could be handled in glassware during production, could be stored in glass containers after being stewed or cooked, or could simply be processed near another product in glass containers. Any of these could have caused broken glass to fall into the spinach.
In other cases, overhead lights may drop glass if something cracks or damages them. Nestle has given no word about what the likely cause is in this case.
What are the health effects of swallowing broken glass?
Swallowing broken glass is extremely dangerous. Glass fragments can cut the body anywhere from the mouth and throat to the stomach and intestines.
In recent years, there has been an effort to “debunk” the idea that ingesting glass is bad for you. But these stories focus on sensational ideas, like the use of finely powdered glass as a poison. They do not account for the very real threat by jagged glass splinters.
The FDA guidelines on glass inclusion warn that ingesting broken glass can cause:
- damage to teeth
- lacerations in the mouth or throat
- Perforation of the intestine, or gastrointestinal perforation
Gastrointestinal perforation is particularly dangerous. It occurs when the glass cuts completely through the wall of the intestine. Even a small hole allows the contents of the intestines to leak into the abdominal cavity, potentially affecting the surrounding organs. Gastrointestinal perforation almost always leads to serious infections, and typically requires surgery. It can be lethal.
If you ingest glass, you could have immediate pain in your mouth or throat—or you might feel fine for hours or days. Signs of potential laceration or perforation include:
- Pain chewing or swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Fever and/or chills
- Nausea and digestion problems
- Blood in your stool
- Changes in your bowel movements, and/or vomiting
- Signs of dried blood in your stool, which may have a dark, grainy “coffee ground” appearance
The biggest danger of broken glass comes from shards that are big enough to do real damage, but small enough that they’re hard to notice. There have been confirmed cases of people dying from eating broken glass.
How do I know if I purchased a product that’s contaminated?
Nestle has issued the recall for a specific set of products, during specific production dates. The complete list of affected products is:
- DiGiorno Thin & Crispy Spinach and Garlic Pizza
- DiGiorno Rising Crust Spinach and Mushroom Pizza
- DiGiorno pizzeria Thin Crust Spinach and Mushroom Pizza
- DiGiorno pizzeria Tuscan-style Chicken Pizza
- Lean Cuisine Spinach and Mushroom Pizza
- Lean Cuisine Spinach Artichoke Ravioli
- Lean Cuisine Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli
- Lean Cuisine Spinach, Artichoke & Chicken Panini
- Lean Cuisine Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
- Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna (10 oz., 37 oz. and 96 oz. sizes)
- Stouffer’s Spinach Soufflé
- Stouffer’s Chicken Lasagna
Not every unit of these products is recalled. You can check this chart to see the production codes and “sell by” dates that are included.
However: Just because a product is not recalled does not mean you should assume it’s safe. Nestle has released few details as to the cause or extent of the contamination. Recalls are expensive, and corporations face intense pressure to keep them to a minimum. Many recalls start off small and later involve other products. In general, if you have eaten any DiGiorno, Stouffer’s or Lean Cuisine product and experience symptoms of laceration or perforation, you should take it seriously.
What should I do if I may have eaten one of these products?
Very few products have had confirmed broken glass in them. However, if you or someone you love experience pain, digestion troubles, or any signs of perforation, there is a chance that it’s connected to the product you ate.
Nestle is liable for the broken glass and any harm that it causes. After you see a doctor, you should discuss your legal options with a qualified attorney. If you have been harmed by broken glass, you may be entitled to a financial recovery that can help pay for medical costs, lost work time, and other expenses. Don’t wait—many gastrointestinal injuries get more serious if left untreated.
John Foy & Associates can help you. We charge nothing unless we get you a financial recovery. Call 404-400-4000 and get your FREE consultation today.