H-E-B recalls ice cream due to metal fragments

HARLINGEN — H-E-B has issued a voluntary recall for an ice cream product that may be contaminated with metal shards, the company said yesterday.

The recall affects H-E-B Creamy Creations Strawberry ice cream sold at specific locations, including H-E-B stores at U.S. 613 S. Expressway 83 and 1103 Morgan Blvd. in Harlingen, and at the grocer’s San Benito location at 1095 W. U.S. 77.

The contamination was discovered during what H-E-B says was a routine inspection in the half-gallon size of the ice cream sold.

H-E-B officials say they have received no reports of injuries from the contaminated ice cream and say all of the unsold ice cream related to the recall has been removed from store shelves.

The suspect ice cream can be identified by its UPC number — universal product code — of 4122034602, and it has a sell-by date of March 12, 2020.

Food contamination generally is most noticeable due to natural toxins which can occur in improperly prepared, stored or chilled food products, resulting in food poisoning or in extreme cases botulism. Other food contaminants which can cause illness in humans include chemicals, heavy metals such as arsenic and pesticide residues.

Given the increasingly industrialized nature of how food is processed, metal fragments or shards in a product are not uncommon. Usually it is the result of pieces of metal machinery breaking off or shearing off and falling into the food sometime during the processing phase.

Most companies take steps to eliminate or at least reduce the likelihood of such breakdowns in the processing system, through quality control checks or even using ultrasound and nuclear magnetic resonance technologies.