Teed Off: Frozen Hash Browns At Roundy’s and Harris Teeter Recalled After Discovery Of Ground Up Golf Balls

We recently discussed the discovery of a dead bat in a salad bag.  It appears that you can also have some ground golf ball to go with your salad if you shop at Harris Teeter.  Frozen hash browns sold in nine states by Harris Teeter and Roundy’s were found to have pieces of golf balls.  McCain Foods USA’s recall notice said the golf balls apparently were “inadvertently harvested” along with the potatoes and chopped up.

The warning states that  “Consumption of these products may pose a choking hazard or other physical injury to the mouth.”

The 2-pound bags of Roundy’s Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns were sold in Marianos, Metro Market, and Pick ‘n Save supermarkets in Illinois and Wisconsin.  Also recalled are  2-pound bags of Harris Teeter Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns sold in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Maryland.

The production code on the back of the packaging is B170119.

53 thoughts on “Teed Off: Frozen Hash Browns At Roundy’s and Harris Teeter Recalled After Discovery Of Ground Up Golf Balls”

  1. You think patrons at the Waffle House [aka…Awful House] at 3:00 a.m. care is their scattered, smothered and covered are spud or golf balls? Excuse me Ms…can you make them “al dente” please? Al who?

    1. I think a bull testicle in my salad would gross me out much more than a golf ball.

  2. If you like this comment, please go to my Golf Fund Me page and contribute!

    1. Humans can’t keep up with he speed of the conveyors. Most rely on optical scanners (assuming there are any eyes, human or mechanical, at all).

      The conveyors have gotten bigger/wider and faster (wider/faster is cheaper) over time. Humans cost more money and always blink or look away. The operating assumption is that the machines don’t, but they also don’t see what they’re not programmed to see.

    2. Whenever I think of a human monitoring a conveyor belt, I will forever associate that with the I Love Lucy episode in the chocolate factory.

  3. Law of economics. Its mechanization that help keep food so cheap. When potatoes with golf balls becomes 90% off, it becomes worth my while to throw them in water and separate the wheat from the chaff.

  4. What the real story probably is, is that a farmer just went out of business when golf course moved in, or when a neighbor installed a green in his property.

    There is no way a mechanical harvester can avoid picking up golf balls hit into the field. And if they were covered in dirt during the collection, they could easily be missed on the conveyor belt. That spoiled crop may have been that farmer’s yearly income.

    Which also brings me to the subject of family farm vs corporate ag. The reason why we have the preponderance of corporate agriculture is mainly estate taxes. Heirs simply could not afford the crushing taxes that came with inheriting the family farm. So many came together and formed Big Ag. The Mom and Pop farms are dwindling, but those who run Big Ag usually come from multigenerational farming families. Same thing happens with Big Beef.

    It was our government’s greed for tax revenue that crushed the family farm, and yet people commonly decry Big Ag. If you want small business farmers to thrive, then re-write the tax code.

    1. Great comment, Karen. Wisconsin still has many family farms. And, the processed food industry buys from them. There is a McCain’s factory in Fort Atkinson, WI., where I worked many cases. They made frozen onion rings there. A good smell when they were cooking. Kikkoman has a factory in Walworth, WI. where they make soy sauce, horrible smell. Several small sauerkraut factories in southern WI, again horrible smell[but great taste]. Then there’s the Nestle’s factory in Burlington, WI. Heavenly.

    2. How many of your grandma’s generation had 5 children or more to run that farm?

    3. We do not have a preponderance of ‘corporate agriculture’. ‘Corporate’ farms are closely-held companies of family members. Publicly-traded firms account for about 11% of farm income.

      1. Correct, DSS. Who are the big potato producers in the U.S. today? Most people never heard of Simplot or Martinez, for example. But they are among the most powerful potato producers in the U.S., and they are privately owned. The big publicly traded food corporations buy from them.

        And these large and powerful family-owned businesses go through estate taxes and emerge just fine. The landmark Simplot case establishes that: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1233700.html

      2. If a farm is small enough, it’s exempt. But out here in CA, where modest suburb houses can go for $1 million, it’s not that hard to reach the $5.43 million threshold. Here is a great article on the family farm and estate taxes, and the need to plan ahead to avoid it. (Hint hint – people change their behavior to avoid paying higher taxes that render them unable to pass on a legacy to their heirs. The wealthy do the same high tax avoidance behavior, just as the middle class does.)

        As I’ve mentioned, most corporate farms are family owned. “The vast majority of corporate interests in farming are family-owned,” said Ford who runs his own 1,500 acre farm in Alabama.
        “My wife and I are the co-owners of the partnership we formed,” Ford said. “There were a number of reasons for this, but estate tax planning and protection of assets from liability claims are chief among them.”

        “The reasons family farms are often caught up in the estate tax include expensive farm equipment and high land values, said Valerie Chambers, professor of taxation and accounting at Stetson University. “The land may be valued at its highest and best use, not its value as a working farm to the family,” said Chambers.
        “Family farms located near growing urban areas were especially at risk,” Chambers said.
        And as farm land values keep increasing, that’s putting more family farms at risk of the estate tax, said Pat Soldano, founder of the anti-estate tax organization, the Policy and Taxation Group.
        “Land values have risen much faster than the rate of inflation over the last decade making many farm values well over the current $5.43 million exemption level,” said Soldano.
        And because farms have little liquidity and their capital is usually tied up in the land and farm equipment, paying the estate tax makes it difficult to operate a family farm, Soldano said.”

        “Paying the estate tax in order to pass on a farm on to heirs, said Soldano, usually ends up in a sale of the farm or huge family debt.”

        Farmers understand this, however. With proper planning, they’ve already incorporated or made the necessary arrangements to try to avoid this hit. By the time they get big enough, the writing’s already on the wall that it cannot continue to the next generation as a private family farm. So they incorporate, but keep ownership themselves. Not every corporation is publicly traded. In fact, most are not.


        1. Here is another interesting article with tax advice for farmers, including mistakes that many make:


          The reason why so many farms have become incorporated is to avoid the death taxes. With proper planning, the farm can still remain in the family, or multiple family members can come together. That’s why I take the whole “Big Ag” criticism so common today with a grain of salt. It’s the taxes that creates corporate Big Ag in the first place.

          We have farmers and ranchers among my family and friends, and avoiding the Death Taxes are an important topic for them.

    4. Karen, they didn’t put the golf course in until the crop was harvested.

      It’s a reasonable wager this was a random accident or a disgruntled employee at a processing plant.

      1. I think it’s probably more likely that it was someone (or several someones) practicing his/her swing and hitting balls into an empty (of people) field. The mechanical harvesters couldn’t differentiate between the potatoes/crop and the balls, so all got scooped up. Because golf balls are round, they were probably missed by the optical scanners/graders in the processing plant and made their way into the cooking/processing system.

        The more the food chain relies on mechanization, the more likely these outcomes.

        FWIW, I grew up on a farm and am familiar with the harvesting, grading and packing (for fresh fruit) process. This event isn’t really surprising at all to me.

      2. How did that happen? If the golf course was not put in until after the crop was harvested, how did the golf balls get into the crop? If it was a disgruntled employee that would be terrible.

    5. @Karen S, I think there’s also a lot more nuance than the tax code WRT to the decline of family farms. I grew up on one (in California) so here’s my take.

      First, the smaller farms aren’t as viable on a competitive front because the larger farms are quicker, and can afford, the investment required to mechanize. Volume of production supports mechanization, so the smaller operators are disadvantaged from the get-go.

      Second, farming, at least for “permanent” crops, is an all-in investment. Red Ruby peaches (I’m making that up) look promising? You plant thousands of trees, maintain them (prune, maybe graft, fertilize, irrigate, spray, etc.) for up to 5 years before you have a harvestable crop. Then you find out that there’s a varietal with better aesthetic characteristics in stores, or that stands up better in shipping, etc. Oh yeah, and thousands of other farmers likewise planted Red Ruby peaches at the same time you did, so the market is glutted.

      Next, farming is a make-or-break proposition, every single year. You’re at the mercy of weather and markets. Whatever crop or varietal you’re committed to (see above) might fall out of favor quickly, but you have multiple years of undepreciated assets. Cut bait? Tough decision, and requires another hefty investment and a long wait for productive orchards. Need we talk about droughts?

      Last, farming is hard, and changing. It’s often difficult, dirty, physical work. Much requires a college education any more, and farm kids graduating college see their fellow grads taking on less difficult lives. Also, as farming becomes more and more mechanized, it’s becoming less and less social. Fewer farmers means a smaller occupational social circle (pre-FarmersOnly.com). Fewer co-workers (hired or otherwise) means you spend a lot more time on your own. And as small, family farms are absorbed into larger operations, you have fewer neighbors, too.

      Needless to say, I left the family farm, but at the end of my corporate career, I long for (and yes, romanticize) the old lifestyle. Building a baseball diamond wasn’t an option for us.

      1. What a great post, Wonderer. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Farming and ranching are, indeed, very risky, physically demanding endeavors.

        I would like to add that the Organic industry has created a niche market for the smaller family farm. They have the option to get CSA subscriptions from people who like that connection with the farmer, and are willing to pay higher prices for organic produce grown locally.

    6. In my opinion, the demise of the small family farm is NOT because of government regulations and taxes. Rather, it is due to simple capitalist competition.

      Back in the 1800s, it was quite possible to support a family with a few acres and a mule. What was true back then, in many cases, was that the farmer raised most all the food they needed right there on the farm, and didn’t need too much “spending money” to go into town.

      My grandparents farmed in the mid-20th century, and most of what they raised, they sold. But it was always to get enough profit from the milk, beef cattle, pigs, and even eggs, to do well. Over the years, horses gave way to tractors, and the state university extension bureaus promoted an ever increasing amount of advice about how to farm more efficiently. Supply exceeded demand.

      That process has continued to this day. A farmer now needs several thousand acres to make a go of it. He doesn’t have an army of sons anymore, so he needs gargantuan machinery with air-conditioned cabs, to get it all done. Soon, robot tractors and combines, crewed by no one. All this capitalization to chase slimmer and slimmer profits.

      So, in my opinion, what we need is to make farming LESS efficient, applied to all the farmers. I’m not sure how to do that, but that’s what it would take to bring back smaller family farms.

      Somewhat the same argument applies to business in general. Every business wants to have as few employees as possible. Yet every business wants to have customers. There is a logical disconnect here, that does not get talked about much. Frankly, I foresee a future where the majority of people are on some form of guaranteed income or welfare, and very few will have jobs. And those jobs will be something like “game show host,” not related to actual productivity of anything. It is the inevitable end state of capitalism.

  5. I don’t get frozen hash browns. Just cut up some spuds and make them fresh. Cheaper, better, and no golf balls. And, this reminds me of Arnold Palmer and Johnny Carson.

    1. That’s right Nick. Frozen has browns are an unnecessary “convenience” and they’re not even particularly healthy. First, potatoes should be organic. Organic potatoes are still way cheaper than any prepared potato products and they aren’t genically modified, nor loaded with pesticides. (Trader Joe’s and Costco’s sell organic potatoes and a good price.)

      They’re easy to prepare too. First, simply wash and scrub the organic potatoes and leave the skin on, as the skin contains lots of nutrients. (Also, I don’t feel the skin detracts much from the appearance. They even give some character to the appearance of the final product.)

      Second, boil or microwave the potatoes ahead of time and store them in a container in your refrigerator so they’re ready to prepare when you want them.

      Third, when you’re ready to prepare your hash browns, simply slice or dice them as you like. Add them to a frying pan and add a tablespoon or so of organic coconut oil, which is one of the best oils you can eat. “Fry” at a low temperature until brown, turning as needed. Add salt, pepper, and/or paprika if you like after they’re about done. If you like, you can even “fry” the potatoes ahead of time, put them in a container, and store in your refrigerator for “instant” hash browns when you want them. Just microwave or refry. They taste almost as good as fresh and are far more nutritious then the frozen stuff.

      1. At most of the restaurants I go to, you can choose between hash browns or home fries. Hash browns are the frozen things out of a bag, whereas home fries get you restaurant-sliced potatoes.

  6. Who knows what else could be in your processed food anyways. I heard animals poop. I also heard that they like to poop in farms also. Pooped processed food with insects for extra protein anyone?

  7. Lack of regulation provides “jobs” for the heirs of those who own the unregulated corporations. Welfare of the public is irrelevant.

    1. What gave you the idea the company in question is ‘unregulated’?

  8. Why make a federal case out of it? Next you’ll be saying we need government oversight of food additives, when it’s the market that should dictate whether a recall is needed. Botulism, rabies, ground-up rubber with a hint of surlyn. C’mon you commies! Caveat emptor, baby!

    1. See the work of Kip Viscusi. Command and control regulations are the weakest vector promoting health and safety (and, you’ll notice, did not prevent this mishap at the processing plant).

  9. Anybody who eats that sludge needs the roughage. It’s either that or a long overdo enema.

  10. These were “wild caught”, artisanal ball flakes adding a slight insouciant and rubber sheen to the product.

    Better marketing makes everything o.k. Just like the American Airline flight attended who nearly whacked a baby! I’m sure that will be fine with a few insincere apologies!!

    1. Well you just pushed the wrong button this morning. Talking about spud balls and you just had to do your little American Airlines bomb throwing.

      I read all the articles, viewed all the videos and can’t recall reading, hearing or seeing any reference to either one of those two (2) twin children being at risk or “nearly whacked “.

      It is the policy of every airline to “check strollers” period. Not at the counter but rather “tagged” at the gate and left at the aircraft gangway ramp right before the door. The stroller, at no charge is brought back up to be retrieved when you disembark.

      Let me see, “We will be boarding those who need assistance, those with small children or require extra time first”.

      Here is what I took away from all this and you missed, ignored and glossed over.

      First and foremost is our responsibility to follow and obey the instructions of the flight crew.

      Second, the stroller never should have gotten past the bulkhead door onto the equipment (aircraft).

      Third, this woman was coming from Argentina. Not a short flight. What do you do, how do you manage two small infants/ children when she has to go pee. Ring the call button….excuse me can you watch my kids please. Oh, can you take this soiled diaper. Oh, and can you warm this bottle for me. Button going, ding, ding, ding….🔔

      Fourth, Not knowing her purchase, she either bought three (3) seats, bought two (2) and was allowed free fare for one child on her lap. I don’t think they’d let her have both free and in her lap too.

      Fifth, the flight attendant should have kept his cool and not let her push his buttons. All the rules and procedures where in his favor for the outcome he wanted.

      Now, we have another airline incident with “airline bad” and “employee fired”.

      These employees are your best friends. They are the ones who just may save your life sometime and not the foe.

      Now we live in a culture, much like the one you madam try to breed. This ill intended attitude you foster is based on the apparent charter of contempt and “I gotcha” industry is simply sick. We will all pay for you and others like you. I love how you never cared to comment how the “man” standing further escalated this situation even further by challenging the crews authority.

      She was removed and never flew as scheduled. I wonder how much of a delay the other travelers experienced or maybe some even missed their connections thanks to her and the man.

      What should have happened is that she should have followed the rules and if not then she should have been given a compliance warning. The man should have been instructed to sit down. Then, if they both did not comply, the flight attendant should have advised senior attendant, who intern would appraise the Captain. The Captain has been AWOL in both the airline incidents. The Captain comes out and first address the the man. Sir, I am Captain ______. Please take your seat. Sir, if you do not, I will have you removed from MY AIRCRAFT. You then sir MAY be sited with the interference of a flight crew by not following my order. That sir is a Federal offense. Thank you for taking your seat. Madam, will you please follow me.

      1. BOOM! There it is….

        1000% agree. People need to stop asserting their right to buck or question authority the minute they step onto a plane these days. You do what you are asked to do by the crew or you will be removed. For the safety of ALL passengers and crew, that’s pretty much the way it has to be. They cannot risk closing the door and preparing to take off with a passenger onboard a long flight who any of the crew suspect may cause a problem once in the air. You give up your right to question authority the minute you board a plane. Or choose another form of transportation.

        1. Another OT point…not that I agree with how it was handled by United, but in their defense, if you listen to the video of the passenger who was dragged off of the United flight, he was heard screaming like a crazy person either before or just as the security person touched him. The moment he started screaming sealed that passenger’s fate. By reacting like that, he was never going to be allowed to stay on board that flight even if they decided to depart without him having to give up his seat. That man was red-flagged the moment he started screaming like a mentally unbalanced person. When he was asked to leave, he should have left as asked and then lawyered up and made his complaint through appropriate channels. Asserting his right to buck authority then and there in his seat by screaming like a nut case? 100% in the wrong in my opinion.

      2. CVB,

        Here you go! “Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya who recorded the incident, said he started filming after the flight attendant “violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby.” He added that “they just involuntarily escorted the mother and her kids off the flight and let the flight attendant back on, who tried to fight other passengers. The mom asked for an apology and the AA official declined.”


        Never let facts get in the way of a good rant! Carry on! 🙂

        1. Some many fine points to address here that I’m not sure where to start.

          Ahhh….Facebook. First, I am not a subscriber. Moreover I’d prefer Zuckerberg be charged along with Facebook for storing and broadcasting child porn (live rape of a 14 year old) and the live murder of the black gentlemen. I am so glad you choose them as “your gotcha” source, goes to my earlier comment on the real sorry state of affairs of people.

          I think the professor might chime in on your exhaustive use of blatant heresy. So original quoting this guy.

          You will be happy to know however that you won. Honest, you did. Again, acting badly had been rewarded. “Gotcha” remains victorious. How so?
          In case you haven’t heard, American Airline did offer the “mom” an apology….of sorts.
          1. They put her on another flight.
          2. They UPGRADED her to (drum roll) 1st Class.
          3. They refunded her fare.
          4. They gave her an additional $1,000.

          As far as my “rant”… God only knows that that you had the good fortune of meeting the nice me. The other me would have hoped you programmed your self driving car to go visit the land of Thelma and Louise.

          How would you like your golf balls?

          Al dente ok?

    2. They said it was “inadvertently” harvested. We all make mistakes.

      And there is a regulatory force of sorts in play here. Very soon the company will be out of business or at least suffer a major sales decline.

  11. The Clampett’s once showed up at a golf course, eager to shoot (hunt) “a golf”.
    All they could find were “golf eggs”, so granny tried boiling them to make them edible.
    I think Leo Durocher was the guest star in that episode.

    1. Thank God “reality” shows replaced the trite garbage you describe.

      “/sarc off,” as if it’s required.

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