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Hash browns recalled due to 'golf ball materials'

Commentary: McCain Foods announces that Harris Teeter and Roundy's frozen hash browns might have been contaminated with Titleists.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Bad shots can go far astray.

Getty Images/First Light

Food production is getting ever more scientific.

It's not just that natural things can be genetically modified. It's that machines are employed to ensure every precaution is taken to be sure food is safe.

Yet a curious piece of news makes me wonder how effective these precautions are.

The Food and Drug Administration and McCain Foods have issued a recall on two brands of frozen hash browns -- Harris Teeter and Roundy's -- produced by the famous food company.

It's the first sentence of the announcement that stirs discomfort: "McCain Foods USA, Inc. announced today it is voluntarily recalling retail, frozen hash brown products that may be contaminated with extraneous golf ball materials."

How could bits of Titleists and Top-Flites have somehow found their way into frozen hash browns? Did bad amateur golfers hit shots that went so astray that they landed in potato fields and no one noticed?

Well, it seems so.

A spokesman for McCain Foods told me: "We believe the cause might be that the field where the potatoes were harvested was adjacent to a golf course."

And no one picked the balls up, instead leaving them to slowly decompose?

McCain insists it has "stringent supply standards." It adds that there have been no reported injuries due to this incursion of badly-swung slices into potato slices.

It cautions, however: "Consumption of these products may pose a choking hazard or other physical injury to the mouth."

Should you have bought one of these products, McCain asks that you immediately return it to the store where you bought it, in order to secure a full refund.