Not so tasty chicken

Breaded cut­lettes turn the noses of Spa­niard’s Bay fam­ily

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

Of­fi­cials with Coun­try Rib­bon Inc. in St. John’s and Pow­ell’s Su­per­mar­ket in Bay Roberts say they are at a loss to ex­plain how a box of frozen chicken strips pur­chased by a fam­ily in Spa­niard’s Bay last month turned out to be mouldy.

Stephen Neil said the 600 gram box of sea­soned, breaded cut­lettes was pur­chased on Fri­day, Jan. 21.

Later that evening, Neil chopped some of the strips into pieces to put into tacos. He put some in the deep fryer, but when he tasted a piece, he retched in dis­gust.

Neil said he ran to the bath­room and forced him­self to vomit. “It was gross,” Neil said. He started ex­am­in­ing the chicken, and no­ticed what ap­peared to be green mould on some pieces, and some of the chicken had turned a deep orange colour. He stuck his nose into the bag and no­ticed a very un­pleas­ant smell.

Neil took out his video cam­era and started record­ing im­ages of the chicken. He called Pow­ell’s the next day to com­plain, and on Mon­day, Jan. 24, con­tacted Coun­try Rib­bon, this prov­ince’s only fully-in­te­grated chicken pro­ducer and pro­ces­sor.

He also called The Com­pass, say­ing he wanted to share his story to make sure oth­ers do not have a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was aw­ful,” he said, adding that his wife and two young chil­dren, ages three and seven months, could have been made se­ri­ously ill if they con­sumed the chicken.

With food safety is­sues hav­ing made na­tional head­lines in re­cent years, he also de­cided to make con­tact with a lawyer, not­ing, “I wouldn’t mind be­ing rich.” He later said he has no plans to take le­gal ac­tion.

Neil ini­tially re­fused to turn over a sam­ple of the chicken to ei­ther Coun­try Rib­bon or Pow­ell’s, fear­ing his con­cerns would be “swept un­der the rug.”

He fi­nally agreed to turn over a sam­ple on Jan. 25, and the qual­ity as­sur­ance ex­perts at Coun­try Rib­bon con­firmed the chicken was mouldy, in­di­cat­ing it had been thawed for an ex­tended pe­riod be­fore be­ing cooked.

Neil pro­duced the re­ceipt, show­ing proof of his pur­chase on Jan. 21, and pointed out the April 28, 2011 ex­piry date on the box. “ We only had it for an hour or two,” he said. He said he planned to stop buy­ing boxed, frozen prod­ucts, and said his con­fi­dence in Coun­try Rib­bon had been shaken.

He said the com­pany’s pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity is fed­er­ally in­spected, and qual­ity as­sur­ance stan­dards are very high. He added that “ many hun­dreds” of boxes were pro­duced at the same time, and there have been no other com­plaints.

“ We’re not sure where the mould orig­i­nated, but we are con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther,” he said. “ We have very good prod­ucts, and we take these types of is­sues very se­ri­ously.”

A spokesper­son for Pow­ell’s Su­per­mar­ket, Brent Bug­den, said the com­pany fol­lowed proper pro­to­col in re­spond­ing to Neil’s com­plaint.

He said the cus­tomer was of­fered a re­fund, and sim­i­lar prod­ucts were checked to see if there were other prob­lems.

“ We did and didn’t find any­thing,” he said, adding that such in­ci­dents are “ very rare.”

Neil stressed that his only rea­son for speak­ing out was “ the safety of my fam­ily.”

Stephen Neil of Spa­niard’s Bay dis­plays a hand­ful of chicken pieces that was pur­chased on Jan. 21.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.