KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A massive recall has been issued for barbecue cooked at this past weekend’s American Royal at Kansas Speedway.
Volunteers collected thousands of pounds of what they call “perfectly good barbecue” from the annual event to feed the hungry. But when Kansas City health inspectors found it, they threw it in the garbage.
Harvesters Community Food Network said a labeling error led to the issue, but didn’t elaborate on how it occurred.
A Kansas City Health Department food inspector uncovered the issue during an annual inspection Wednesday at Hope City, which had just received it’s shipment of barbecue from American Royal.
“It was the whole gamut, if you can think of the most magnificent barbecue spread that’s what we threw away yesterday by the hundreds of pounds,” Hope City Associate Director Bill Durkes said.
For five years now Kookers Kare, a group of barbecue chefs with hearts as big as their stomachs, has worked with Harvesters to collect the extra food not turned over to judges at the competition. This year that was more than 3,000 pounds of meat, and 1,200 pounds of sides.
The organization’s president, Gary Denham, said they had a refrigerated truck at American Royal, and his team of food safety experts only collected food that was either piping hot or ice cold.
It’s then distributed to ministries with food kitchens like Hope City on Kansas City’s East side.
“Everyone out there is like all right we are going to eat. Beans, potatoes, brisket, burnt ends, ribs, it’s awesome,” Durkes said.
But when Kansas City health inspectors showed up just as they were about to pass out the food to 150 hungry and needy recipients, the inspector ordered about 700 pounds of barbecue to be thrown out. It was then covered in bleach to make sure no one tried to get it out of the dumpster.
“They were expecting lunch and for it to be a really good lunch and just having it taken away it was a bummer, we were all bummed out,” Durkes said.
Health officials say the food was destroyed because it wasn’t from a permitted establishment, and they couldn’t track where the food had been. Therefore, they couldn’t ensure it’s safety.
Denham said if health inspectors had any questions they should have just asked. Instead hundreds already went hungry, and it appears as many as 3,000 people won’t get meals as a result of the recall.