Honey Smacks blamed for massive salmonella outbreak

honey smacks
CC BY 2.0 Horia Varlan/Flickr

Move over raw eggs and chicken, processed cereal is joining the salmonella party.

Suffering from fever, diarrhea and stomach pain after your morning bowl of Honey Smacks? It may be from more than just the sugar! A salmonella outbreak that has thus far affected 73 people in 31 states has been linked to the Kellogg cereal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As one of the Hall of Shame winners from EWG’s 2014 children’s cereal report, the cereal that puts the smack in Smacks was found to be 56% sugar by weight … which does leave some room for salmonella-tainted ingredients to sneak in there. Incidentally, the concoction was originally called Sugar Smacks when it was introduced in 1953 – now that's truth in advertising. But I digress.

Anyway, remember when salmonella used to be the domain of raw chicken and eggs? How is it now in something as preserved and sterile-seeming as packaged cereal? To that end, Gizmodo points out that multi-state outbreaks of salmonella this year have also been caused by “dried coconut, chicken salad, raw sprouts, and Rose Acre Farms eggs. Roughly 200 million eggs were recalled last month after 22 people got sick. Even Kratom, a recreational drug similar to opioids, has been tainted with salmonella.” This is in addition to the concurrent, and expanding, recall on pre-cut melon happening right now, also thanks to salmonella.

According to a statement by Kellogg, the company “launched an investigation with the third-party manufacturer who produces Honey Smacks immediately after being contacted by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding reported illnesses.”

The illnesses linked to the cereal started between from March 3 to May 28, reports the CDC. The agency says that of June 14, 73 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 31 states. Twenty four people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Most of the outbreaks have taken place in California, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

The company is voluntarily recalling 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce packages of the cereal with a "best if used by" date from June 14, 2018, through June 14, 2019.

• The recalled 15.3 oz. cereal has a UPC code of 38000 39103.
• The recalled 23.0 oz. Kellogg’s has a UPC code of 38000 14810.

Kellogg is asking that people who purchased potentially affected product discard it and contact the company for a full refund.

The CDC recommends:

• Do not eat recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. Check your home for it and throw it away, or return it to the place of purchase for a refund.

• Retailers should not sell or serve recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

• Even if some of the cereal was eaten and no one got sick, throw the rest of it away or return it for a refund.

• If you store cereal in a container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or type, throw it away.

• Thoroughly wash the container with warm, soapy water before using it again to remove harmful germs that could contaminate other food.

And in the meantime (hint hint) there's this: How to make your own granola

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