CDC warns consumers to avoid eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks due to 33-state salmonella contamination

Providing yet another reason not to tuck into a bowl of unhealthy, sugary cereal for breakfast every morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced a link between Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal and a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka. The CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and local health authorities are investigating the outbreak, which has already resulted in over 100 infections, sending 30 people to the hospital. These numbers are likely to continue escalating, since the CDC warns that there is generally a delay of up to four weeks between when a patient becomes sick and when their illness is reported to the relevant authorities.

Medical News Today explains that Salmonella refers to several different bacteria that cause infections which can result in food poisoning, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever and other illnesses. Symptoms include fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, and usually occur within 72 hours of infection. While most people will recover on their own within about a week, severe cases of diarrhea might result in hospitalization.

The FDA warns that a Salmonella infection can be very serious or even prove fatal in young children, elderly and frail people, and those with compromised immune systems. Thankfully, to date this outbreak has not resulted in any fatalities. (Related: Peanut butter CEO gets 28 years in prison for Salmonella cover-up; what about the vaccine cover-up? Or GMO lies?)

Salmonella outbreaks are usually caused by contaminated water or foods like eggs, meat and poultry. In this latest outbreak, however, laboratory tests on samples collected from patients’ homes and retail stores in California, Montana, New York and Utah have all found Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal to be the source of infection. (Related: The cause of bacteria in lettuce and spinach.)

“Do not eat this cereal”

On 14 June, Kellogg’s issued a voluntary recall of its 15.3 oz and 23 oz packages of Honey Smacks cereal with “best if used by” dates between 14 June 2018 and 14 June 2019. The company assured consumers that they could return these packages to the stores where they were purchased for a full refund.

Nevertheless, health officials have taken the warning a step further, stating:

Honey Smacks products with earlier dates could also potentially be contaminated. Do not eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal of any size package or with any “best if used by” date. [Emphasis added]

The majority of the affected patients confirmed eating Honey Smacks in the week before they started exhibiting symptoms, as noted by the CDC:

State and local health officials continue to interview ill people and ask questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Fifty-five (85%) of 65 people interviewed reported eating cold cereal. In interviews, 43 people specifically reported eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. Ill people in this outbreak reported this cereal more often than any other cereals or food items.

Protect your family

The CDC advises that no Honey Smacks of any size or with any “best before” date be consumed. If you have already purchased this product, please throw it in the garbage or return it to the store where you purchased it for a refund. If you have stored any of the cereal in a container without the packaging, it should be carefully washed in warm, soapy water to remove any germs before being used again.

If you have eaten the cereal and experience fever, diarrhea or cramps, please seek medical attention.

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