Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Recall Issued After Allergic Reactions, Illnesses

Government health officials have initiated a recall of Uncle Ben’s rice sold in bulk bags, after multiple reports were received involving consumers, mostly children, who experienced allergic reactions, including burning and itching rashes, headaches, and nausea shortly after eating the rice.  

An Uncle Ben’s rice recall was announced by the FDA on February 10, impacting multiple flavors of “infused” rice that were sold in 5 pound and 25 pound bags. Many of the impacted products appear to have been sold to schools and other institutions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified at least 25 illnesses in an Illinois school district, 34 illnesses in Katy, Texas school district and four illnesses in North Dakota. Investigations suggest that each incident involved the consumption of the recalled rice.

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While the investigation is ongoing, the CDC continues to receive reports of problems where symptoms were experienced after eating the Uncle Ben’s Infused rice.

So far, each cluster of incidents involved similar reports of problems, with consumers experiencing an itching and burning rash, headaches, nausea, and flushed skin color for roughly 30 to 90 minutes before the symptoms went away. The CDC announced they have observed children and adults suffer the same degree of symptoms, and they do not believe any individual age group may be more susceptible or threatened by the outbreak.

The Uncle Ben’s infused rice recall consists of all bags and all lot numbers of its 2013 products sold at Mars Foodservices, including 5 and 25 pound bags of Rice Roasted Chicken Flavor, 5 pound bags of Rice Garlic & Butter Flavor, 5 and 25 pound bags of Rice Mexican Flavor, 5 pound bags of Rice Pilaf, 5 pound bags of Rice Saffron Flavor, 5 pound bags of Rice Cheese Flavor, and 25 pound bags of Rice Spanish Flavor.

The potentially affected products have the brand name “Uncle Ben’s” and “Infused Rice” printed on the front of the packaging accompanied by the flavoring description. Uncle Ben’s rice products sold in grocery stores are not affected.

The products were sold directly to food service companies who regularly distribute to restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other large scale purchase establishments. The products may have also been sold online at Amazon.com and different warehouse retailers such as Sam’s Club.

Customers are encouraged to stop distributing and consuming the recalled rice products and to either return the products to the place of purchase or discard them. The CDC has recommended that individuals who have consumed the rice products and experience symptoms should consult with their healthcare provider.

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