The CDC has declared the Salmonella Mbandaka outbreak traced to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks is over, with 135 having been confirmed infected, but the agency is continuing to urge consumers to make sure they don’t have any of the cereal in their homes.
Because of the outbreak, the iconic Kellogg Co. initiated an international recall of Honey Smacks in all sizes of packages and with any “best if used by” dates of June 14, 2019, or earlier.
“This outbreak investigation is over. However, recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal has a long shelf life and might still be in people’s homes. Consumers unaware of the recall could continue to eat these products and potentially get sick,” according to the final outbreak updated posted Sept. 26 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Laboratory tests confirmed that people in 36 states were infected with Salmonella. Public health officials reported to the CDC that the patients’ illness onset dates range from March 3 through Aug. 29.
Of 84 people interviewed by health officials, 63 reported eating Honey Smacks cereal before becoming sick. The victims reported eating Honey Smacks more often than any other cereals or food items. Ill people ranged in age from less than one year to 95, with a median age of 57. Out of 101 people with information available, 34 were hospitalized. No deaths were reported according to the CDC.
An investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, working with state agencies and the CDC, revealed the outbreak strain of Salmonella was present in samples of cereal from patients’ homes, unopened packages, and the third-party production plant that made the Honey Smacks for Kellogg.
Advice to consumers
Anyone who has eaten Honey Smacks cereal and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about their possible exposure to Salmonella because special lab tests are required to properly diagnose the infections.
Symptoms usually begin within a week after exposure to the bacteria. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. In otherwise healthy adults, Salmonella infections usually last four to seven days.
However, people in high-risk groups, which include children, older adults, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system can develop serious complications which require hospitalization.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)