• The affected products were sold in five states
  • Trader Joe's has removed the products from its stores
  • Customers may return the products to get a refund

Trader Joe's is alerting consumers about a specific ready-to-eat chicken salad product because of possible foreign matter contamination in the dressing. Specifically, the salad dressing may contain hard plastic.

The public health alert affects specific "Trader Joe's Crunchy Slaw with Chicken, Crispy Noodles & Peanut Dressing" that was sold in various states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) noted in an announcement.

According to the agency, the problem was discovered when the supplier of the salad dressing informed an FSIS inspected establishment that the dressing may contain hard plastic. The establishment, in turn, notified the FSIS.

Hard foreign objects in food products may cause traumatic injury to consumers, such as injury to the mouth or damage to the gums and teeth. However, foreign materials that are less than 7 millimeters "rarely cause trauma" except in certain populations such as the elderly, surgery patients and infants.

So far, no injuries or adverse reactions related to the consumption of the products have been reported. Trader Joe's has also removed the affected products from its stores.

The salad dressing has been recalled because of the problem, the FSIS noted. As the product is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), both the FDA and FSIS are "coordinating on this issue."

The public health alert affects the Trader Joe's Crunchy Slaw with Chicken, Crispy Noodles & Peanut Dressing that was produced on 3/03/22, 3/04/22, 3/05/22 and 3/06/22 then shipped to locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The affected products have a use-by date of 03/09/22, 03/10/22, 03/11/22 or 03/12/22 and have the establishment number "P-6247" in the USDA mark of inspection.

A photo of the product's packaging can be found here.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' refrigerators," the agency noted.

As such, those who may have bought the affected products are urged not to eat them. Instead, they should be discarded or returned to any Trader Joe's so customers could get a full refund.

"We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience," Trader Joe's noted.

Those with questions about the issue may contact Trader Joe's at (626) 599-3817 or via this form.

Trader Joe's
A Trader Joe's in Boulder, Colorado, on Feb. 14, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking