The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just issued a warning about Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice due to a cluster of sicknesses that have been reported in Texas and other states. In response, Mars Foodservices issued a recall of every lot of Infused Uncle Ben’s Rice that was tied to the Texas illnesses.
The government is looking into the illnesses that have been tied to Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor, which is sold in 5- and 25-pound bags. The FDA is warning food service companies and consumers against using any of Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice products that are sold in 5- and 25-pound bags.
These particular rice products are sold to food service companies that distribute food to restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other commercial establishments. The recalled Uncle Ben Infused Rice products may also be available from the Internet, including Amazon.com, and from warehouse-type retailers, such as Sam’s Stores. Food service companies and consumers who are in possession of the recalled rice are urged against using the rice and are being asked to return the recalled Uncle Ben’s rice to the place of purchase, or to dispose of the recalled rice.
The recalled products, all produced in 2013, include:
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Roasted Chicken Flavor (5- and 25-pounds)
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Garlic & Butter Flavor (5-pounds)
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor (5- and 25-pounds)
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Pilaf (5-pounds)
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Saffron Flavor (5-pounds)
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Cheese Flavor (5-pounds)
- Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Spanish Flavor (25-pounds)
Uncle Ben’s Brand Ready to Heat, Boxed, Bag or Cup Products available in supermarkets and other retail outlets are not involved. Foodservices Products are manufactured separately and are sold through wholesale distribution channels.
Government Regulators Probing Uncle Ben Rice Illnesses in Multiple States
The FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local officials have been probing the cluster of illnesses. This, following notification on February 7, 2014 to the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network (CORE) concerning the illnesses at three public schools in Katy, Texas.
In all, 34 students and four teachers reported suffering from burning, itchy rashes, headaches, and nausea for 30-90 minutes. The common food consumed by all those who experienced symptoms was Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor. The recalled rice involves lot number 351EKGRV01 and was made by Mars Foodservices of Greenville, Mississippi.
Just prior, on December 4, 2013, the Illinois Department of Public Health advised the CDC that 25 children with similar skin reactions all consumed a school lunch that included Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice product.
North Dakota also reported a similar incident on October 30, 2013. Reactions were reported in three children in a daycare and one college student who experienced flushing symptoms 45 minutes after eating an Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice product.
After consuming the recalled Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice products, people complain of an array of symptoms that occur soon after consumption, and which last for anywhere from one-half hour to one and one-half hours:
- Red burning skin
- Itching rash
- Skin Flushing
People of any age may experience these symptoms and people of different ages have reported illnesses and symptoms. Neither the cause of the symptoms nor its long-term effects are known, although early reports indicate a potential vitamin overdose may be the culprit in the odd set of symptoms, according to a USA Today report.
Excess Niacin May Be Culprit in Uncle Ben Rice Illnesses
The FDA tested some of the leftover rice from the Illinois school lunch, according to USA Today. Test results revealed increased levels of niacin—Vitamin B3—in the rice. “Overexposure to niacin can lead to skin reactions such as redness and flushing, itching and dry skin. Very large doses can cause indigestion and nausea,” said FDA’s Theresa Eisenman. “There is no confirmation at this time that the Texas incident was caused by excess niacin, and the rice eaten was not part of the previous recall. Investigation into this outbreak continues,” Eisenman said.
An overdose of niacin may lead to sometimes dangerous side effects that include hair shedding; dry, burning, and cracking skin; liver toxicity, increased blood liver enzymes, jaundice, and increased abdominal fluid levels, according LiveStrong. Elevated amounts of niacin are linked to increased blood liver enzymes, jaundice or skin yellowing, and increased levels of abdominal fluid. Niacin overdoses may even result in severe liver damage or liver failure; abnormal heart rhythms, palpitations, increased blood homocysteine levels, circulatory issues, blood clotting, and reduced white blood levels; muscle cell damage and muscle and joint pain and weakness; confusion, seizures, irritability; urine issues, according to LiveStrong.
Need Legal Help Regarding for Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice?
If you or a loved recently ate one of Uncle Ben’s recalled Infuse Rice products, you may have valuable legal rights. Please fill out the form at the right for a free evaluation by a qualified attorney or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).