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Chicken recall: More than 2 million pounds recalled, may be contaminated with metal

Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY

More than 2 million pounds of chicken are being recalled because the poultry "may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal," the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Wednesday.

According to the USDA, Simmons Prepared Foods, based in Gentry, Arkansas, is recalling several of its ready-to-cook chicken products, which include chicken legs, wings and whole chickens.

The notice says the chicken was shipped "to institutions in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania." Institutions can include restaurants, schools, hospitals and distributors. The recall doesn't include chicken sold in stores.

The items were produced between Oct. 21 and Nov. 4, according to the recall notice.

"Food safety is a very serious matter at Simmons," the company said in a statement Wednesday. "That is why Simmons has issued a precautionary and voluntary recall of approximately 2 million pounds of fresh and frozen chicken products ... We are working closely with regulatory authorities and affected customers to expedite this product recall."

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The USDA posted labels of the affected chicken products at www.fsis.usda.gov.  

The recall notice says there were concerns that "some product may be frozen and in institutional freezers" and advised institutions not to serve the products.

The USDA has classified the recall as “Class I,” which means it is a “health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

In its statement, Simmons said the company discovered the issue through standard food safety and quality checks and that there "have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of the products."

According to the USDA, anyone concerned about "an injury or illness should contact a health care provider." Consumers with questions about the recall should call the company at 888-831-7007.

Dylan Robb, a consumer watchdog associate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, said in a statement that Simmons was taking “the correct action by initiating this recall.”

“The only time I should feel a crunch when I bite into a piece of chicken is when it’s fried," Robb said. "We shouldn’t have to worry whether the food we’re eating contains inedible and potentially harmful materials."

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Poultry recall: Nearly 2.1 million pounds of chicken recalled