On June 14th, food manufacturing giant Kellogg’s announced a voluntary recall of certain boxes of its Honey Smacks cereal. Kellogg’s initiated the recall after being informed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the cereal has apparently sickened 73 people in 31 states. Although no deaths have been reported, two dozen people have been hospitalized with Salmonella-related illnesses.
What products are affected by the recall?
Kellogg’s has recalled all 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce packages of Honey Smacks with a “best if used by” date between June 14, 2018 and June 14, 2019. These packages also have a UPC Code of either 38000 39103 (15.3 ounce carton) or 38000 14810 (23 ounce carton). The “best by” date can be found at the top of the box and the UPC code at the bottom. Visitors to Kellogg’s website are directed to a webpage with information about the recall, as well as photo samples of the product packaging and labeling. Product photos can also be found on the FDA webpage announcing the voluntary recall.
Consumers are urged to throw away any boxes of Honey Smacks cereal which may potentially be contaminated and to contact the company for a full refund. Additionally, the CDC urges people to throw away any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal boxes they may have, even if the package has been opened and no one has gotten sick from a partially used box. If containers were used to store the cereal, these containers should be thoroughly washed with warm, soapy water before they are used again.
Salmonella is a deadly danger
Although fortunately nobody seems to have died from this outbreak, dozens have had to be hospitalized with serious intestinal illnesses. Salmonella is a bacteria widely considered to be the most common cause of food-borne illness in the US, causing illnesses ranging from gastroenteritis to typhoid fever.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning (salmonellosis) include abdominal cramps and diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and fever. These symptoms can show up anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after eating food contaminated with salmonella. The symptoms typically last between four and seven days and will usually go away on their own in otherwise healthy individuals without requiring medical treatment. However, the sickness can be extremely serious in young children as well as older adults and those with weakened immune systems. If the body can’t fight off the infection in the digestive system, the microbe can get into the bloodstream and cause severe illnesses such as sepsis (septicemia salmonella), which can be difficult to treat and may prove fatal.
Food manufacturers are liable for harm caused by tainted products
Product manufacturers owe a duty to the public to ensure the safety of their products before they release them onto the market. Food manufacturers and distributors can be held strictly liable for the harm caused by a tainted product, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and damages for wrongful death in cases of fatal illnesses caused by contaminated products. If you or a member of your family were taken ill from contaminated Honey Smacks or another commercial food product, contact the Philadelphia product liability attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin for professional legal help in pursuing a claim for compensation.