“Filled with bone,” wrote one reviewer of Banquet’s Salisbury steaks. Others related similar experiences on the TV dinner manufacturer’s website. Now, the USDA has announced that 135,000 pounds of the family-size dinners are being recalled for possible contamination “with extraneous materials, specifically bone” or, as several news outlets put it, “due to bone contamination.”
Reviews on Banquet’s website have been complaining about a change in the Salisbury steak recipe for quite some time, but on March 21st the criticisms shifted to bones. “Just bought 6 packages today and my entire family had bone or something small and hard all through them!” Very Upset in PA wrote. Another user claimed they were very displeased because “all of it had ground bones throughout.” Steve in NM, West Virginia said that one bone “lodged in between my teeth so I had to stop eating and go floss and brush my teeth.” Yet another user stopped just short of claiming the bones amounted false advertising, saying they wouldn’t expect ground up bones in “something that says made in the USA since 1953 and America’s #1 Salisbury steak brand.”
The USDA and Banquet’s parent company agree that America’s #1 Salisbury Steak should be free of bones, big or small. In a statement posted to the USDA’s website on Wednesday, consumers were warned to avoid or throw away cartons marked “Banquet FAMILY SIZE 6 SALISBURY STEAKS & BROWN GRAVY MADE WITH CHICKEN, PORK AND BEEF – GRILL MARKS ADDED.” Specifically, packages with lot code 5006 8069 10 05 and a ‘BEST BY’ date of September 1, 2019, printed on the package. You can see package images here, but you’ll be fully in the clear if you just don’t eat any of the potentially bony steaks.
The announcement claims that the contaminated products were produced on March 10th, 2018, and “the problem was discovered after the firm received several consumer complaints and three reports of minor oral injury associated with consumption of this product.”
Consumers with questions about bones, steak, or bones in steak, are urged to contact the Food Safety and Inspection Services’ virtual assistant, “Karen.”