Kellogg’s had a hard time last month when they voluntarily recalled one of their products. The company’s cereal ‘Honey Smacks’ was recalled after some boxes were believed to be contaminated with Salmonella. The company was cooperative by voluntarily removing some of their products from store shelves.
However, the FDA has announced that some of the recalled cereal is still for sale. Legally, retailers are not allowed to still offer the cereal. The FDA plans to closely monitor the situation and follow up with the retailers who continue to sell these products.
Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that people don’t eat or sell any of the Honey Smacks cereal. Originally, the recall involved only specific boxes of the cereal – 15.3 oz. boxes and 23 oz. boxes – both of which have specific code dates on them. Still, the CDC had issued a warning to stay away from all boxes regardless of the date or size.
The original outbreak was announced in June. According to the number of illnesses reached 100 by March, even though the outbreak wasn’t announced until later. It was reported that the 100 people affected were spread throughout 33 states. Within those numbers there were 30 hospitalizations and no deaths. The cereal had been distributed across the US, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Tahiti and Saipan.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Normally, people can recover from the illness within four to seven days without being treated. In severe cases people can be hospitalized, and in this case many people were.
This isn’t the only foodborne illness outbreak that has affected US consumers this summer. McDonald’s salads have recently been linked to an outbreak of cyclospora which has sickened around 61 people across seven states. In attempts to contain the outbreak, McDonald’s has stopped the sales of salads in 3,000 stores in 14 states.
Outbreaks involving serious illnesses can cause consumers to stray from an entire category of food. It’s uncertain how this will affect consumer’s trust in Kellogg’s. It is evident that other breakouts have had negative affects on product sales. In June, there was a reported decline in lettuce sales after the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak. It was found that total lettuce sales went down 27 percent and romaine sales dropped by around 45 percent.
This consumer response was similar to that of consumers in 2006 when spinach was also linked to an E. coli outbreak. It took 68 weeks for spinach sales to recover after the contamination issues were under control. Kellogg’s has yet to deal with the aftermath of this outbreak.