Pity the poor folk whose job it is to market Hot Pockets, those ubiquitous microwaveable turnovers filled with one or more types of cheese, meat, or vegetables.
For years, Hot Pockets were a staple of comedian Jim Gaffigan’s standup routine (see above), in which he effectively ensured that a generation of consumers would associate the food item with indigestion, diarrhea and a variety of other ailments.
There’s likely no amount of money or promotional effort that Nestle, which produces Hot Pockets, could ever come up with to overcome the effectiveness of Gaffigan’s biting ridicule, and now the company is facing another PR nightmare.
Nestle is voluntarily recalling an unspecified number of “Philly Steak” and “Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese” Hot Pockets because they could contain meat that is unfit for human consumption, according to the USDA.
Gaffigan’s gag, of course, is that they were never fit for human consumption in the first place.
Anyhoo, nearly 9 million pounds of beef products were recalled last week by Rancho Feeding Corp. after regulators said it processed diseased and unsound animals without a full inspection, according to the Associated Press.
Nestle said a small quantity of meat from Rancho was used at a California production facility that makes Hot Pockets.
No illnesses have been reported – at least not from the tainted meat.
One imagines the small desperate team tasked with marketing Hot Pockets condemned to a boiler room beneath some decrepit Nestle factory. Their goal, in essence, is to create chicken soup out of chicken feathers by making Hot Pockets sound palatable.
That mission, already one of monumental proportions, has now been made immeasurably more difficult by the whiff of tainted meat. Whatever that group is paid, it likely isn’t enough.