This summer was one for the books when it comes to salmonella outbreaks. Honey Smacks prompted a nationwide recall of its cereal beginning on June 14 with a specific ‘best by’ date. However, after further evaluation, it was updated to recall all boxes of cereal. It ultimately sickened 135 people in 36 states.
The manufacturer of Honey Smacks was found to have already known about the salmonella in its facilities that caused the major outbreak this summer.
The outbreak was linked to a facility that, until now, was unnamed. Kerry Foods, Inc. is the company that manufactures and processes Honey Smacks. The bigger problem than the outbreak is its facility tested positive for salmonella many times between September 2016 and May 2018.
This means the company continued manufacturing cereal that could, and subsequently did, put the public health and safety at risk, despite multiple findings of salmonella.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning letter stated the facility tested positive for 81 salmonella environmental samples and 32 positive salmonella vector samples. It was found in places such as a cereal coating room, production lines, and manufacturing rooms.
The warning letter indicated Kerry Foods did not remedy the situation and was subsequently responsible for the consumer outbreak.
FDA spokesperson Peter Cassell said in an email with the Miami Herald,
“The FDA, CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], 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.”
“The FDA is working with Kellogg’s to ensure Honey Smacks are safe when they are again available to consumers and is continuing to warn consumers against eating any Honey Smacks with a marked ‘best if used by’ date before June 14, 2019.”
A public relations representative for Kerry Foods, Inc., Deshundra Jefferson, made a statement to Cooking Light magazine online after an article was published outlining the FDA findings.
Jefferson said in an email statement, “Kerry has a long history of meeting or exceeding the highest standards of the food industry, and for employing robust preventive control procedures to ensure the complete safety of our products. We regret that we experienced gaps in implementing controls.”
The statement further said Kerry Foods’ priority is to provide products consumers can enjoy that are both safe and nutritious. Furthermore, after the FDA findings, the company developed a comprehensive corrective action plan for the facility by updating its environmental monitoring program, reengineering its equipment to ensure sanitation, and providing enhanced training for employees to make sure the new measures are followed accordingly.
“We value the agency’s careful attention to operations following this recall, as the close inspection of our procedures and practices provides us with a valuable opportunity to further strengthen our food safety programs and their implementation,” Jefferson said.
“It is essential that all of the food we produce is safe, and we are committed to making necessary revisions to our programs to ensure this goal is met. Kerry remains committed to delivering the highest-quality products on a consistent basis and is fully committed to implementing the corrective measures the FDA has recommended.”
Filing a Honey Smacks Recall Food Poisoning Lawsuit
The lawyers at Johnson // Becker are currently pursuing Honey Smacks food poisoning cases. If you or a loved one were sickened after eating the recalled cereal, compensation for your injuries could be available. Contact us today for a free case review. We would be honored to speak with you and will respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.