Harris Ranch Beef Company officials said Friday that a foreign object found in a five-pound package of ground beef sold at a Bay Area Grocery Outlet store is not glass, but salt.
The discount grocery chain removed the packages of the ground beef from its 221 stores on Wednesday after a customer at the Oakley store said a package contained shards of broken glass. The customer returned the meat to the store, without its original packaging or store receipt.
Melissa Porter, Grocery Outlet spokeswoman, said the store contacted the Selma-based Harris Ranch Beef Company, and Harris Beef collected the product for testing. Grocery Outlet pulled the five-pound packages of beef “in an abundance of caution” while Harris Beef completed its investigation, Porter said.
There were no other reports of questionable product, nor did any other retailer pull its Harris Beef.
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John Harris, owner of Harris Ranch Beef Company, said an independent testing lab analyzed the beef samples and determined that the material was not glass or hard plastic. Further tests confirmed the substance was a soluble crystalline material that dissolved in water and was very similar to ice cream salt.
On Friday, Harris said he doesn’t know how the salt got in the beef and was shocked at the claim of glass in the company’s beef.
“No glass at all is allowed in our plant, and it was inconceivable that this alleged contamination occurred at Harris Ranch Beef,” Harris said. “But nevertheless I am glad we investigated it thoroughly and found that the alleged contaminant was not glass, or any other harmful item.”
Porter said Harris Ranch Beef was being returned to Grocery Outlet store shelves.
“We are 100% confident in the quality and safety of Harris Ranch products,” Porter said.