September 21, 2023

Honey Smacks Salmonella Mbandaka Outbreak Was Number 7 of 2018

The Honey Smacks Salmonella Mbandaka outbreak that sickened at least 135 people in 36 states was the number 7 multistate outbreak of 2018. Thirty-four people were hospitalized in that outbreak, which ended in September 2018.

Kelloggs Honey Smacks Salmonella Outbreak 122518

The Kellogg Company recalled all Honey Smacks cereal with a “best if used by” date of June 14, 2019, no matter what the size is. The “best if used by” date is printed on the box top. Even if some of the cereal was eaten and nobody got sick, throw it away. Salmonella bacteria can clump in tiny areas and not every piece of cereal may be contaminated. If you decanted the cereal into another container and don’t have the box it was packaged in, throw that cereal away. And thoroughly wash the container before you add more cereal or other food. Check your pantry to see if you have the cereal with that best by date. Changes are there are still some boxes in consumers’ homes.

The case count by state in this outbreak was: Alabama (2), Arizona (3), California (11), Colorado (2), Connecticut (4), Delaware (1), Florida (3), Georgia (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (4), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (3), Maine (1), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (9), Michigan (4), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (2), Montana (2), North Carolina (5), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (5), New York (16), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (12), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (3), Texas (3), Utah (3), Virginia (5), Washington (3), Wisconsin (2), and West Virginia (4).  The patient age range is from less than one year to 95. Thirty-four patients were hospitalized.

Illness onset dates ranged from March 3, 2018 to August 29, 2018. The hospitalization rate of 34% is quite high for a Salmonella outbreak. No deaths were reported.

Health officials in several states collected Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal from retail stores and from patient homes for testing. They found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Mbandaka in an unopened cereal box that was purchased in California. The outbreak strain was also found in samples of leftover Honey Smacks cereal taken from the homes of ill persons in Montana, New York, and Utah.

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