Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal tied to salmonella, 73 sick, product recalled

The CDC is urging consumers to throw out or return any Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal as it may be contaminated with salmonella.

The Honey Smacks-linked salmonella outbreak has affected 73 people in 31 states so far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The company is voluntarily recalling all of the sullied cereal stamped with a “best if used by” date ranging from June 14, 2018, through June 14, 2019, Kellogg said in a release. For 15.3-ounce packages, affected boxes have a universal product code - located under the barcode - of 38000 39103. For recalled 23-ounce boxes, it’s 38000 14810.

RELATED: 7 foods food safety experts never eat

7 PHOTOS
7 foods food safety experts never eat
See Gallery
7 foods food safety experts never eat

Raw oysters 

They may be delicious—and then there's the oyster's reputation as one of the top libido boosting foods. But food safety expert Jeff Nelken won't indulge. "At certain times of the year, oysters become contaminated, and they become more of a risk," he says. "Eating the same oyster that's been cooked to 145 degrees, so you're killing any bacteria is safer—or make sure that they're coming from areas without any issues." Make sure you don't fall for these myths about food poisoning.

Meal kits  

Those ship-to-you meal kits may be the ultimate in convenience and they offer some incredibly delicious options. However, Nelken wants to take a pass, unconvinced about the safety of having your food delivered that way. "People need to do a little bit of thinking before they use all these services," he says. "People need to find out how they verify that it's being kept at safe temperatures."

Raw milk or raw milk cheese 

Unpasteurized milk products—including cheese—have become more popular, even though many food safety regulations prohibit it in the U.S. Unpasteurized products can be infected with listeria, e. coli, or salmonella—which is one reason why food safety expert Barry Parsons of Robson Forensics doesn't partake in it. "I would not go for any raw milk products, because there's no kill step—I don't want to take that chance," he says. "There are places that are safe, that do it very well—but you need to know the history of the operation." Follow these rules to avoid nasty food poisoning during the summer.

Salad bars

That innocent-seeming salad bar can harbor scary stuff. Ingredients are left out in the open, indefinitely, and potentially at the wrong temperature, are ripe for contamination. "If I know that there's an attendant, and they're on top of it, then I don't mind eating from it," Parsons says. "You need to look at other things than just the food itself—what they're physically doing, and their actions and behaviors.

Precut fruit 

Those pretty mixed fruit salads at the grocery store could be contaminated if the preparation isn't done properly. "I would ask a lot of questions about how they do that—what sink do they use, how do they cut up everything, are they washing it down, are they sanitizing it," Nelken says. "In produce, everything has to be washed and sanitized. For instance, the netting on the outer skin of melons holds on to bacteria really well, and the fruit is laying on the soil." Here's the difference between food poisoning and the stomach bug.

Undercooked meat or eggs 

Chicken and pork are especially dangerous if served at a lower temperature—chicken is often contaminated with salmonella, while pork can be contaminated with trichinosis, a parasitic worm that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. But other undercooked meat and eggs can also put you at risk—especially if your immune system is compromised. "What I recommend are that the young or the elderly or those with a weakened immune system—such as those with diabetes or cancer—don't consume anything raw or undercooked," Parsons says. "They're more sensitive—and if they eat the same food, you may be okay, but they may become ill."

Sushi

Sushi is usually relatively safe, but you need to trust the source of the food. When fish is improperly handled, it can be easily contaminated by common food poisoning bacteria—or, with certain fish, scombroid food poisoning. "If the fish is laid on top of the boat and improperly handled, it starts to decompose and can produce a histamine," Nelken says. "People can have a sensitivity or allergic reaction."

Parsons will indulge in sushi "if I know that it's a sushi-grade product, and know that it's been treated and frozen properly," he says. "But that's not a 100% guarantee—there is no 100% guarantee." Next, read about the foods that chefs never, ever order when they eat out at restaurants.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“Kellogg is asking that people who purchased potentially affected product discard it and contact the company for a full refund,” Kellogg said.

People were experiencing symptoms of the infection between March 3 and May 28, according to the CDC. New York has the highest number of reported cases with seven; followed by California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, each with five.

The CDC said the Kellogg cereal is the likely culprit in this most recent string of salmonella eruptions because after interviewing nearly 40 ill people about their diets, 30 of them said they ate Honey Smacks within the week before they first felt sick.

Some people who have become ill from eating the cereal since May 22 might not yet be included in the report. As of Thursday, 24 people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, according to the CDC. Children under 5 years old, anyone with a weakened immune system and adults over 65 are particularly vulnerable to severe salmonella complications and should be especially vigilant in reducing their risk of contracting the infection, the CDC said.

Read Full Story