National News

Salmonella Outbreaks Affect Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal and Cut Fruit

Posted June 15, 2018 6:45 p.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2018 6:47 p.m. EDT

As a salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens forced a recall of some cereal products this week, federal officials announced that a separate outbreak linked to cut fruit has expanded to almost two dozen states.

The outbreak linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal had sickened 73 people in 31 states as of Thursday, according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 24 of them had been hospitalized and no deaths had been reported.

The agency advised consumers to throw away cereal boxes that have a “best if used by” date of June 14, 2018, through June 14, 2019, on the tops of 15.3- and 23-ounce packages of Honey Smacks and to wash any containers used to store the cereal.

The cereal recall was the second to involve a salmonella outbreak in food in the United States in about a month. In May, 60 people were sickened from the disease, and last week the CDC linked their illnesses to precut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and mixed fruit in eight states.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration said it had updated its list to 23 states that had received the fruit; they are Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The fruit and cut melon, in plastic containers, was recalled from Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart and Whole Foods/Amazon.

Salmonella can cause illness between 12 to 72 hours after ingesting the germ. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. “Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe,” according to the CDC.

The illnesses related to Honey Smacks took place between March 3 and May 28 in people who ranged in age from less than a year to 87 years old, the CDC said.

The Kellogg Co. said in a statement Thursday that it has started an investigation into the third-party manufacturer who produces its Honey Smacks brand.

Kellogg said it would give consumers a refund for affected products, which were distributed across the United States and in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Saipan. The company and the CDC did not specify which states were involved and which stores had sold boxes associated with the illnesses.

The CDC estimates that salmonella infections cause about 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths every year in the United States.

Earlier this year, more than 200 million eggs were recalled after a salmonella outbreak was traced to a farm in North Carolina. An outbreak traced to chicken salad from a food processing company in Iowa made at least 265 people sick and led to one death.