FDA Investigates Outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka Infections Linked to Kellogg’s
Honey Smacks Cereal
Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day. So important is this meal that we (as adults) entice children into eating something that has some nutritional value that we affix cartoon characters and games to boxes of cereal and insert toys or other prizes into these boxes. Parents trust that cereal manufacturers will take the proper precautions to ensure their food product is nutritious, beneficial, and (most of all) safe for consumption by children. As a new FDA investigation reveals, however, sometimes the breakfast cereals your kids know and enjoy contain something far more sinister than added sugars. Just last month, in June 2018, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal was subject to a nationwide recall as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka believed to be connected to the cereal. Even though illnesses have been reported and a nationwide recall has been issued, this potentially dangerous cereal product is still being offered for sale.
How Many People Have Become Ill from Honey Smacks Cereal?
According to the FDA’s own website, approximately 100 people from 33 states are believed to have fallen ill as a result of Salmonella Mbandaka-tainted Honey Smacks cereal. This does not include any individuals from other countries where Honey Smacks cereal is distributed for sale and consumption. Of these 100 or so individuals, approximately 30 individuals have become seriously ill and needed hospitalization. The symptoms of a Salmonella Mbandaka infection include diarrhea, fever, and/or stomach aches and cramps. These symptoms typically develop within a matter of days (or sooner) after ingesting contaminated product and the symptoms may last for up to a week. To date, no one is known to have died, a Salmonella infection can, in some rare cases, prove to be fatal.
Despite Recall, Some Stores Continue to Sell Honey Smacks Cereal
In June 2018, after discussions were held between the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Kellogg’s (the manufacturer of Honey Smacks cereal), Kellogg’s voluntarily agreed to cease distribution of its Honey Smacks cereal and to issue a voluntary recall of product it had already distributed to stores. The recall covers all boxes of whatever size of Honey Smacks cereal, regardless of whether any expiration or “best by” date displayed on the box has passed. There is no way for consumers or distributors to know what boxes of Honey Smacks cereal is contaminated and which boxes are not.
A recall occurs when some danger to the public has been identified and mitigation of that danger requires a product to be removed from stores and kept from consumers. When a recall occurs, typically anyone in possession of the affected product is instructed to return the product for a refund from the manufacturer. The recall of Honey Smacks cereal is voluntary in that the manufacturer agreed to announce and cooperate in the recall without an order or directive compelling the company to do so. A voluntary recall does not mean that distributors or consumers have discretion as to whether to continue to use the product or return the product.
Despite the voluntary recall from Kellogg’s, the FDA’s ongoing investigation has revealed that some stores are continuing to offer Honey Smacks cereal for sale. Furthermore, some consumers are not aware of the recall or believe that because a store is offering the cereal for sale, that it is safe to consume. This creates a continuing risk to parents and their children.
What Should I Do If I Have Purchased Honey Smacks Cereal?
If you are in possession of a box of Honey Smacks cereal, you should visit the FDA’s website (www.fda.gov) and/or contact Kellogg’s as soon as possible to learn how to return your box of Honey Smacks cereal. You should not eat or consume (or allow anyone else to eat or consume) any Honey Smacks cereal as this can cause illness and, in extreme cases, death. There is no definitive way whereby you can determine whether the cereal product in your possession is safe to consume, so it is better to err on the side of caution and return the box as soon as possible. Do not purchase Honey Smacks cereal from the store until the FDA has completed its investigation and determined the cereal is safe to eat. Even if you see Honey Smacks displayed in your local grocery store, you should not take this to mean that the product is safe at this time.
My Child (or I) Have Fallen Ill After Eating Honey Smacks. Is Help Available for Us?
If you, your child, or a family member have fallen ill after eating Honey Smacks cereal and you have incurred expenses such as medical bills and lost wages or have otherwise been injured, there may be legal remedies available of which you can take advantage. This is because manufacturers of food products must take reasonable steps to ensure their products are safe for consumption. If the FDA’s investigation reveals that Kellogg’s cut corners in its quality assurance processes, thereby allowing its Honey Smacks cereal to become contaminated, a court may find that Kellogg’s must repay those injured by a Salmonella Mbandaka infection the costs of their medical bills, lost wages, and other similar losses.
Similarly, stores who continue to sell Honey Smacks cereal despite the voluntary recall may also face legal consequences if they sell a contaminated box of Honey Smacks cereal and a consumer becomes ill and suffers financial injuries as a result. Once a recall is issued and retail stores or distributors are notified of the recall, a burden is placed on these entities to ensure that the recall is complied with and no affected product is sold. Failing to take reasonable measures to ensure this occurs is what subjects the store or distributor to legal liability.
If you are injured or become ill because of tainted Honey Smacks cereal, you will only have a limited amount of time within which to take action. If you do not file a claim in court seeking compensation for your losses in a timely manner, you may be forever barred from obtaining any compensation whatsoever for your Salmonella-Mbandaka-related losses. The time period you have to file such a claim can be as limited as three years from the date you became sick or even less, so it is critically important that you take action to protect your rights quickly.
Your Compassionate Legal Counsel
Our Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal Salmonella Mbandaka lawsuit lawyers are skilled at assisting individuals who have been harmed by contaminated products and foods like Kellogg’s Honey Smacks recover monetary damages and compensation to address the financial costs of Salmonella-Mbandaka infections. These damages and compensation awards can be used to address the costs of medications and/or hospitalization, the time you missed from work (either because you were sick or you were caring for a sick child or family member), your mental pain and suffering, and other similar losses that accompany this type of illness. As noted above, you only have a limited amount of time within which to act, so call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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