The recalled Chicago-style dogs -- all packaged in 10-pound cases of Skinless Beef Frankfurters with EST. 1 inside the USDA mark of inspection -- were shipped to food service locations in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, according to the federal agency.
"We picked it all up about a week and a half ago," Tom McGlade, vice president of marketing for the Chicago-based company, told CNN. He said that only a small number of restaurants buy the big 10-pound boxes and, since the company tracks case numbers, it was able to identify the restaurants where the hot dogs had been delivered.
The recall was limited to restaurants and had "nothing to do with grocery store product," McGlade said.
According to the USDA, packages may be opened and still sitting in refrigerators or freezers. Restaurants should throw away or return them.
So far, no reports of a health problem caused by eating these products have been confirmed. Anyone concerned about a possible injury or illness should contact a health care provider.
The company discovered the problem and reported it to the USDA, which classified the action as a Class I recall, meaning there is a "reasonable probability" that eating the frankfurters will cause "serious, adverse health consequences or death."
McGlade said that press reports used images of the retail product, prompting a "wildfire of people getting scared." The recall, though, was isolated to food service-packaged products, he said.
The Chicago-style hot dog originated from street cart vendors during the Great Depression, according to the website of the 125-year-old company