April 14, 2008

2 Min Read
Salmonella Sickens 23, Cereal Recalled

WASHINGTON—Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalled several of its cereals on April 5, because the company’s routine testing found Salmonella in a product produced on March 24, 2008. Since the recall, FDA has reported at least 23 people in 14 states have been diagnosed with salmonellosis caused by the same strain of Salmonella found in the recently recalled unsweetened Puffed Rice and unsweetened Puffed Wheat Cereals produced by Malt-O-Meal. FDA advised consumers should throw out any recalled product in their homes, and grocery stores and other retailers should promptly remove the cereals from their shelves. The agency is working with Malt-O-Meal to determine the cause of the contamination and with the states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify and prevent additional illnesses.

The recalled products were distributed nationally under the Malt-O-Meal brand name as well as under private label brands including Acme, America's Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw's, ShopRite, Tops and Weis Quality. The cereals have "Best If Used By" dates from April 8, 2008 (coded as "APR0808") through March 18, 2009 (coded as "MAR1809").

Mal-O-Meal recalled 3 million pounds of cereals in June 1998 after finding some of its toasted oat varieties was likely involved in a salmonellosis outbreak that sickened a reported 200 people in 12 states in the Midwest and Northeast, including 50 hospitalizations. The company settled a subsequent class action lawsuit of those affected, agreeing to pay $2 million to the more than 1,000 plaintiffs.

FDA noted Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of foodborne Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor health or weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

The agency further advised individuals who believe they may have experienced an illness consistent with the symptoms described above after consuming a puffed wheat or puffed rice cereal made by Malt-O-Meal should contact their health care practitioner immediately and report the illness to their state or local health authorities.

A full list of recalled products can be found at Malt-o-Meal.com/recallinfo.

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