OAKLEY (KPIX) — Grocery Outlet stores nationwide have resumed selling Harris Ranch beef after a laboratory hired by the meat company found what appeared to be coarse salt in the product, and not chips of glass as a customer had originally reported.
The grocer had temporarily removed the 5-pound ground beef packages from 220 stores out of what the chain described as “an abundance of caution” when customer Mike Pouard reported finding small chips of what looked like glass.
Food Safety Net Services ran a series of tests on the crystals, examining them under a microscope and using infrared radiation to check their chemical make-up.
Scientists compared the crystals to a sample of coarse salt used to freeze homemade ice cream and determined that the crystals in the meat and the coarse salt had similar properties in every test.
“Based on this evidence,” the report states, “it was concluded that the unknown crystalline material fragments were salt product derivatives.”
Pouard originally told KPIX 5 he bought the ground beef May 21st in Oakley. His wife told him she found the crystals inside the package while making meatloaf. While most were smooth, Pouard said he found a couple of sharp pieces and showed on camera how one actually cut his hand.
Pouard said he was not interested in a payout or a lawsuit, but in simply alerting the company so that other families wouldn’t find the same situation.
Harris Ranch added that it does not allow any glass inside its meat processing facility and that their inspectors believe the crystals had to have been added after packaging, otherwise the salt would have dissolved.