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Honey Smacks Cereal Causes Salmonella Outbreak

Anya Yang

On Sept. 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert warning people to avoid Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. This isn’t the first time the sugary cereal has posed a threat. In March, Kellogg’s instituted a voluntary recall of the cereal due to a few reported illnesses. In July, it took the cereal off shelves again due to a small salmonella outbreak. There have been 130 people affected from 36 different states, ranging from a baby less than one year old to a 95-year-old woman.

More and more people are getting sick due to Honey Smacks. Several families had consumed Kellogg’s cereal from their pantry, which turned out to be the culprit. “If you store cereal that looks like Kellogg’s Honey Smacks in a container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or type, throw it away. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks is an oval-shaped, sweetened puffed wheat cereal with a golden brown color,” the CDC advised.

Salmonella mbandaka bacteria were found in unopened California Honey Smacks cereals and in open boxes collected from patients’ homes in Montana, New York, and Utah. Fortunately, there have been no recorded deaths, but 30 people have been hospitalized already.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), salmonella bacteria live in intestinal tracts and are usually transmitted through contaminated food or water. It originates in feces and is spread through contact. This means that food isn’t the only thing that can infect you. Unwashed hands and tiny dirt spores tainted with animal poop entering a manufacturing plant are equally as deadly as raw food. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. If the infected person stays hydrated, the illness usually resolves itself within a week.

The CDC estimates approximately that 1.2 million cases and 450 deaths per year occur from salmonella. This year, there were several small outbreaks associated with pre-cut melons, eggs, dried coconuts, raw sprouts, and prepared chicken salads. Pet guinea pigs and backyard chickens have also been found to carry the salmonella bacteria.

Many people were confused as to how the potentially fatal pathogen was able to sneak its way into prepackaged foods like Honey Smacks. It turns out the dangerous bacteria are able to survive not only in wet environments but also dry ones too! In this case, whey powder, an ingredient used in shelf-stable dry foods, may be tainted with salmonella.

The outbreak has been put to rest, but Kellogg’s is still urging people who have purchased the potentially fatal cereal to throw it out and contact Kellogg’s for a full refund.

Photo courtesy of NBCNEWYORK.COM

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Honey Smacks Cereal Causes Salmonella Outbreak