Food & Drink

Recalled cereal in expanding salmonella outbreak is still being sold illegally, FDA says

Though Kellogg recalled all Honey Smacks from shelves in June when they were linked to a salmonella outbreak, the FDA said Thursday that it has received reports of some stores still selling the cereal.

And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number sickened in the outbreak has reached 100 people in 33 states, the two latest states with ill people being Colorado and Florida. Of those 100, 30 are known to be hospitalized. The most recent of the illnesses was reported to the CDC on July 2, 18 days after the first recall notice.

“Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale and consumers should not purchase Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal,” Thursday’s FDA update said. “The FDA has learned that some retailers are still selling this product. The FDA will continue to monitor this situation closely and follow up with retailers as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale. Additionally, the public is urged to report any product being offered for sale to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region.”

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The FDA says the third-party facility that makes Honey Smacks hasn’t made any since June 12, two days before the recall. Samples of the facility’s environment and the product collected during the FDA’s inspection match the outbreak strain of salmonella mbandaka, the agency said.

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When the Miami Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the inspection of the facility, the FDA denied the request. The agency claimed two exemptions: “disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings” and possible disclosure of “trade secret and confidential commercial information.”

The CDC puts salmonella illnesses at 1.2 million per year in the United States, 1 million of which are caused by food. Within 12 to 72 hours after infection, fever, stomach aches, and diarrhea begin. They usually disappear after four to seven days. About 1.2 percent of people infected get severe diarrhea that leads to hospitalization. About 450 people die in the United States each year from salmonella.

In this outbreak, New York has the most cases (11), followed by Pennsylvania (eight), Massachusetts (seven), and California (six). Florida has two people sick. The full map of how the sick are spread among the states can be found here.

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