Donald Goerke must be rolling in his grave. The USDA has announced that Campbell's Soup has recalled three different varieties of SpaghettiOs with meatballs, at a combined weight of 15 million pounds.
We talked to company spokesman Anthony Sanzio, who started off by pointing out that "The USDA requires the report to be in poundage. They recall it from the first date it started shipping, but it's really not a meaningful number." The more useful explanation, he says, is that Campbell's is trying to recall 35,000 cases, with each case containing either 12 or 24 cans.
The cause of the recall was listed by the company as "possible underprocessing," but what does that really mean? "What that means," said Sanzio, "is that the cans of SpaghettiOs, the three varieties, did not have enough heat applied to them in the final stage of the process. It's put in a can, the can is sealed shut and then it's put in a cooker that heats the can up." The food is cooked prior to reaching the can, but the cooker is what allows the food to achieve "commercial sterility," killing any bacteria that may cause spoilage.
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The most interesting question to us in this process, though, is what happens to all of these cans of food. Sanzio informed us that each can will be destroyed in such a way so that none of the food can possibly be consumed. But, he added, "to be honest with you, I don't know what kind of destruction we'll use." Will the cans be recycled? "If we can recycle the cans, I'm sure we will. But what we're trying to do now is just get the product back."
We certainly hope they recycle the cans, as it would go a long way toward restoring some faith, after they've put themselves in a situation that requires throwing away such a monumental amount of food. But we'll be checking back in the coming days and will let you know what we find out. One interesting suggestion? Art installation.
Noah Galuten can be followed on Twitter via @ManBitesWorld.