Food & Drink

Salmonella was found in Duncan Hines cake mix. Four varieties have been recalled.

What is salmonella and how do you keep from getting it?

Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC. The bacteria is typically transmitted through contaminated food, but some simple preventative measures can keep you from getting sick.
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Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC. The bacteria is typically transmitted through contaminated food, but some simple preventative measures can keep you from getting sick.

After salmonella was found in a box of Duncan Hines cake mix, food manufacturing colossus Conagra recalled four kinds of the boxed cake mixes.

And the salmonella found in the cake mix might be connected to an outbreak being investigated by the FDA and CDC.

The FDA’s Monday night update said the Salmonella Agbeni found in a sample of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix “matched the salmonella collected from ill persons reported to the CDC. This was determined through Whole Genome Sequencing, a type of DNA analysis.”

Conagra’s company-written, FDA-posted recall notice states, “While it has not been definitively concluded that this product is linked to the outbreak and the investigation is still ongoing. Conagra has decided to voluntarily recall the specific Duncan Hines variety identified (Classic White) and three other varieties (Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti and Classic Yellow) made during the same time period out of an abundance of caution.”

All the boxes are 15.25 ounces. The Best By dates, found on top of the box, are March 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 or 13 of 2019 for the Classic White; March 9, 10, 12 or 13 of 2019 for Classic Yellow; March 7, 8 or 9 for Classic Butter Golden Cake; and March 12 or 13 of 2019 for Signature Confetti Cake. The boxes went to stores nationwide and to a few places internationally.

Consumers who have these boxes should return them to the store of purchase for a full refund. Those with questions can call Conagra at 1-888-299-7646, 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

The notice says there have been five salmonella illnesses in the outbreak being investigated.

“Several of the individuals reported consuming a cake mix at some point prior to becoming ill, and some may have also consumed these products raw and not baked,” the recall notice states. “Consumers are reminded not to consume any raw batter. Cake mixes and batter can be made with ingredients such as eggs or flour which can carry risks of bacteria that are rendered harmless by baking, frying or boiling.”

Also, thorough washing of hands and surfaces after working with raw batter helps prevent salmonella from spreading.

Salmonella is one of the most common food-borne illnesses, bringing fever, stomachaches, bloody diarrhea and vomiting to 1.2 million people in the United States each year. About 23,000 suffer bloody diarrhea so badly, they have to be hospitalized. The elderly, children under the age of 5 and those with damaged immune systems tend to suffer the most from salmonella.

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