When you’re ripping into a big box of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, you usually know what to expect: sugar, puffed wheat, and … that’s about it. But at least 100 people in the US received an unexpected and unwanted ingredient in their Smacks this summer: Salmonella. Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday an update in the investigation into the outbreak, which has sickened 100 people in 33 US states, leading to 30 hospitalizations and zero deaths.
In the CDC’s announcement, officials noted that 27 more people in 19 states have gotten sick since the last update to the investigation on June 14. This is the same date that Kellogg’s recalled the cereal. The CDC recommends that anyone who has any Honey Smacks cereal should throw it away, even if it hasn’t made you sick. To find out if you have one of the contaminated boxes, check the FDA’s list of UPC codes on the boxes.
Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC identified Salmonella Mbandaka, a relatively uncommon variety of Salmonella bacterium, as the culprit in the outbreak. This latest case is one more in a handful of high-profile Salmonella outbreaks from 2018, including ones linked to kratom, eggs, and even pet turtles.
Salmonella affects over a million people each year in the US, the CDC estimates, hospitalizing 23,000 people and killing 450. The vast majority of those cases, as in the Honey Smacks outbreak, occur from foodborne contamination.
Salmonella causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, symptoms that usually begin anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after a person is exposed to the bacterium. At that point, patients typically get ill for four to seven days, and most people recover without the need for medical care. But for the very young, the very old, and people with compromised immune systems, Salmonella can be deadly, and those individuals should seek medical care, especially if their symptoms become severe.
Perhaps after this incident, Kellogg’s will need to come up with a new mascot for Honey Smacks since frogs are a known carrier of Salmonella.