A multi-state salmonella outbreak linked to recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal has worsened in recent weeks, sickening more than two dozen additional people, bringing the total number of illnesses reported nationwide to at least 100.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an outbreak update last week, indicating that the salmonella food poisoning outbreak has spread across 33 states in the U.S., with the Florida and Colorado added to the list of states reporting illnesses.
The salmonella outbreak and a Honey Smacks recall was first announced in June, impacting more than 1.3 million cases of the popular children’s cereal. The action was taken after laboratory testing revealed an unopened box of Honey Smacks purchased in California tested positive for Salmonella Mbandaka.
Other laboratory testing also identified salmonella in opened boxes of Honey Smacks in Montana, New York, and Utah.
The food poisoning outbreak has resulted in a high rate of serious illnesses, with at least 30 individuals requiring hospitalization. However, no deaths have been linked to the Honey Smacks salmonella outbreak.
Illness dates range from March 3, to July 2, 2018, with victims ranging in age from only one year old to one individual who was 95 years old.
Salmonella is a bacteria that affects the gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms including fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. For most people, symptoms will go away within four to seven days without treatment. However, young children and the elderly face a risk of more severe health problems, including dehydration that may require hospitalization.
As part of the outbreak, the lag between illness onset and reporting may be two to four weeks, leading health officials to warn that many food poisoning cases arising after June 19 may not yet be reported. Therefore, the total count is likely to increase in the coming weeks.
Consumers who have Honey Smacks in their pantry’s should throw away any uneaten cereal, even if the package is open, regardless of the freshness date.
If the cereal was stored in a different container than the cereal box, such as a plastic bin or glass jar, consumers should thoroughly wash the container before using it again for another product.
The CDC is warning consumers not to eat or buy any Honey Smacks cereal regardless of the freshness date. The agency is also calling on retailers to stop selling all boxes of Honey Smacks cereal until the source of the problem can be fully investigated and determined.