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.

I do love a good warning letter; here’s the Honey Smacks one

I love the FDA’s ongoing release of warning letters. This practice gives an insight into what’s happening in food facilities, especially important are the ones that are linked to outbreaks. FDA warning letters and 483 inspection forms have brought gold like us tugging at the dried skin of bearded dragons as well as scratching intergluteal clefts.

As the great Stefon says, the Kerry Inc./Honey Smacks warning letter has everything – pathogens, incomplete hazard analyses and poor sanitation. 

Some highlights:

Your hazard analysis did not identify a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard for each type of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at your facility to determine whether there are any hazards requiring a preventive control as required by 21 CFR 117.130(a)(1).

Between September 29, 2016 and May 16, 2018, you repeatedly found Salmonella throughout your facility, including in cereal production rooms. During this time period, you had 81 positive Salmonella environmental samples and 32 positive Salmonella vector samples (samples taken in response to finding a positive on routine testing),

Further, you had repeated findings of other Salmonella species in some production lines and rooms used for the manufacture of cereal. These repeated findings of Salmonella in your environment should have resulted in a reanalysis of your food safety plan as required by 21 CFR § 117.170(b)(4) and the identification of contamination of RTE cereal with environmental pathogens as a hazard requiring a preventive control (i.e., sanitation preventive control).

130 sick from Salmonella in Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal

Kellogg’s really sucks at this food safety thing.

These are the folks who said, in the aftermath of the Peanut Corporation of America outbreak in 2009 that killed nine and sickened hundreds, how the hell could we have known?

When Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal came under Salmonella-related scrutiny, the company didn’t even know who made the cereal.

They just put their name on it, like a Trump hotel.

How the hell would anyone have known?

People who give a shit about food safety, people barfing, people dying.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reiterated its advice the other day, stating retailers should not sell any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. It could be contaminated with Salmonella and make people sick.  The Kellogg Company recalled Honey Smacks cereal on June 14, 2018.

CDC continues to recommend consumers not eat any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. People who recently became ill report eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal that they had in their homes.

If you see Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal for sale, do not buy it. The FDA has become aware that recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal is still being offered for sale.

Thirty more ill people from 19 states were added to this outbreak since the last update on July 12, 2018.

Three more states reported ill people: Delaware, Minnesota, and Maine.


130 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 36 states.

34 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

On Salmonella, go with science or rapper who craves Honey Smacks?

Joshua Espinoza of Complex writes that Boosie Badazz is in disbelief over the 2018 Honey Smacks recall.

Just days after it was announced that the beloved cereal was linked to 73 salmonella outbreaks in 31 states, the Baton Rouge rapper went to social media demanding further proof of the reported contamination.

“I just got home and my kids told me some shit about Honey Smacks are no longer available. I don’t if this true, but I’m pissed. I need proof,” he said in an Instagram video. “I think somebody might be tryin’ to fuck with me […] They say it’s full of salmonella, they were sayin’ something—well I’m full of salmonella!”

Boosie’s love for Honey Smacks has been well documented over the years. There are a number of videos of the rapper doing nothing more than grubbing on the puffed wheat breakfast cereal.

“I need proof, man. Fuck that. They just can’t take them off the market,” he goes on in the video. “I need proof. Somebody DM proof. The scientists, somebody, DM me some proof.”

How badazz is it to eat a kid’s cereal?