135 sickened: Kelloggs returning Honey Smacks to shelves after Salmonella recall

Colin Kellaher of The Wall Street Journal reports that Kellogg Co.’s Honey Smacks cereal will begin returning to U.S. shelves next month in limited quantities following a nationwide recall over salmonella concerns.

Maybe the company now knows who makes the Honey Smacks.

The Battle Creek, Mich., cereal maker recalled more than 11 million boxes of Honey Smacks over the summer after a salmonella outbreak linked to a factory that produced the cereal sickened 135 people in 36 states. No deaths were reported in connection with the salmonella outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in September, and illnesses were reported between March and August.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a July letter that it found “serious violations” following an inspection of a Gridley, Ill., plant. The agency said the factory, owned by Wisconsin-based Kerry Inc., maintained unsanitary conditions and failed to comply with rules meant to prevent foodborne illnesses. A spokesman for Kerry told The Wall Street Journal in September that as a result of the FDA’s investigation, it has worked to improve sanitation and enhanced employee training among other changes.

Kellogg said cereal production for the Honey Smacks relaunch has been moved to a “trusted and tested” company-owned facility. The company also said it has updated its recipe for the cereal, using simpler ingredients. Boxes of the cereal will be labeled with “New Recipe” in the top left corner.

On Sept. 28, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration wrote the Centers for Disease Control, along with state and local officials investigated a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks sweetened puffed wheat cereal. The FDA worked with Kellogg’s to voluntarily recall Honey Smacks from the market and conducted an inspection at the manufacturing facility owned by Kerry, Inc., resulting in a warning letter identifying specific problems at the facility.