Honey Smacks manufacturer pleads guilty to food safety violations

Kerry, Inc., manufacturer of the breakfast cereal that was responsible for a 2018 Salmonella outbreak that sent thirty-four victims to hospital, has pled guilty in federal court to a charge that it manufactured the cereal under insanitary conditions.

The contaminated Kellogg’s Honey Smacks breakfast cereal caused 135 confirmed illnesses in 36 states.

According to a news release from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the company has agreed to pay a criminal fine and forfeiture amount totaling $19,228,000.

The plea agreement has not yet been accepted by the court.

According to the DOJ’s news release, if the agreement is accepted, “…the $19.228 million fine and forfeiture will constitute the largest-ever criminal penalty following a criminal conviction in a food safety case.”

The company shut down operations at its Gridley, Illinois, facility in December 2018 due to a drop in demand for the products manufactured at that location.

In October 2022, Ravi Kumar Chermala, Kerry’s former Quality Assurance Director, pled guilty to three misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into Interstate Commerce.

Kerry Inc. released a statement on February 3, 2023, in which the company regretted “…the unacceptable practices and failures that occurred at Gridley.”

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On the Q-T

The FDA’s investigation into this Salmonella outbreak–and the subsequent actions taken against the manufacturer–have been surrounded by a veil of silence from the beginning.

Honey Smacks cereal was manufactured by Kerry Inc. under a third-party contract with the Kellogg Company. At the time of the initial investigation, the FDA declined to reveal the name of the manufacturer it believed to be responsible for the Salmonella outbreak.

It was only after the CDC had declared the outbreak to be over that the FDA revealed the name of the manufacturer.

The FDA also declined to identify the Salmonella serotype it had discovered during the inspection of Kerry’s manufacturing facility and declined to reveal whether the strain it found was a genetic match to the strain recovered from outbreak victims.

In July 2018, Kerry initiated a recall of 82 tons of Soy Honey Cluster. Two days later, General Mills recalled six production batches of Cheerios Protein Oats and Honey cereal. In both cases, the potential for Salmonella contamination was given as the reason for the recall. Yet, no public notice was posted on the FDA website in either case.

What next?

The next step in this process will be for the Court to decide whether or not to accept the plea agreement.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge James E. Shadid and Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley in Peoria, Illinois, and a sentencing date of March 14, 2023, has been set.

Information regarding upcoming court hearings or other significant developments in the case will be posted on the DOJ’s Information for Victims in Large Cases website.


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Recalls and Alerts: February 2-3, 2023

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

Allergy Alert: FSIS issues Public Health Alert for ready-to-eat (RTE) meat snack products containing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated chocolate wafers due to undeclared peanut in the wafers. Please refer to the FSIS notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Delight Foods USA LLC recalls Seafood delight FRESH FROZEN CATFISH STEAK IF (908g (2 lb; Imported from India) because India is ineligible to export Siluriformes products to the United States.

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Canada

Allergy Alert: Nutrifresh West Ltd. recalls Nutrifresh brand Falooda Drink with Almond Flavour (290 ml; All batch and date codes where milk is not declared on the label; UPC 8 859032 700790) due to undeclared milk. The recalled product has been sold in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

Allergy Alert: Apetito HFS Limited recalls Apetito HFS brand and Heart to Home Meals brand meatball products due to undeclared egg, milk and wheat (gluten). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall / Allergy Alert: La Fraîcheur Tropicale (Montréal, QC) recalls Chicktay de hareng / Herring chicktay and Marinade d’épices / Spice marinade (500g; Sold up to 1 February 2023) due to lack of storage temperature labeling on the menu and undeclared soy and sesame.

Food Safety Recall: Groupe Phoenicia Inc. recalls Cedar Phoenicia brand Pindjur Vegetable Spread (500 ml; Lot code L 21231 EU; Best before 2024 AU 19; UPC 0 62356 50221 8) due to foreign matter contamination (pieces of glass). The recalled product was sold in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and Quebec.

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Europe

Allergy Alert (France): MONOPRIX recalls MONOPRIX brand Galettes de blé noir / Buckwheat pancakes (4/pack; Lot 016; Use by 05/02/2023) due to undeclared gluten (wheat), milk and egg.

Allergy Alert (France): LA COMPAGNIE DU RIZ recalls Autour du Riz brand Sucre en poudre complet issu de fleurs de coco / Whole powdered sugar from coconut blossoms, organic and free trade (500g & 12 kg; Lot FT0821BM2; Best before 28/08/2023 & 20/04/2025) due to undeclared sulphites.

Allergy Alert (France): NUTRITION ET SANTE recalls Soy brand Falafels vegan bio / Organic vegan falafels (15 pieces; Use by 28/03/23) due to undeclared wheat and soy.

Allergy Alert (France): ECOIDEES recalls BIOSAGESSE brand SUCRE DE COCO / Coconut sugar (bulk and 200g bag; Lot AG1221; Use by 01/10/2025, 01/01/2026 & 01/11/2025) due to undeclared sulphites.

Allergy Alert (Germany): Hai Yen Supermarket GmbH & Co. KG recalls MUT DUA CAM – Mischung von 5 kandierten Früchten bzw. Gemüse / Mixture of 5 candied fruits or vegetables (Best before 20.09.2023) due to undeclared sulphur dioxide.

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): Dirk and DekaMarkt recall Mom’s finest petit panini (4-pack; Best before 12-04-2023) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): Udea, Ekoplaza and Odin recall Machandel mayonnaise (Best before 23-03-2024 and 28-01-2024) due to undeclared egg, wheat (gluten) and mustard.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): AFSCA orders recall of Mira brand crème de sésame – EXTRA Tahine / Tahini Sesame paste (18 kg; Lot 003; Expiry date 16/12/2023) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): LDC SABLE recalls Grignottes de poulet à l’indienne / Indian style chicken nuggets (250g; Lot 27; Use by 18/02/2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): GAEC SERVAIN DE VOS  recalls Les Vaches de Fadainville brand Tomme de Fadainville cheese (Date codes from 22-12-2022 to 24-01-2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): PASO recalls PASO brand Mini Préfou saison (210g; Lot 130330018; Use by 28/02/2023) due to foreign matter contamination (hard plastic).

Food Safety Recall (France): CARREFOUR FRANCE recalls Carrefour brand GRIGNOTTES DE POULET ROTIES SAVEUR CHORIZO / Roasted chorizo-flavor chicken nuggets (250g; Lots 026 & 027; Use by 17/02/2023 & 18/02/2023, respectively) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): LDC SABLE recalls Le Gaulois brand Emincés de cuisse de poulet rôti / Sliced roasted chicken thighs (180g; Lot 24; Use by 15/02/2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): LA LIANE CHARCUTERIE DU TERROIR LE VIGNEAU DE LICQUES  recalls Le vigneau de Licques brand Pâté à la louche / Liver pâté (328g, 656g, 2.7 kg; Lots 1017, 2017, 3017) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOCIETE LAITIERE DE VICHY recalls SOCIETE LAITIERE DE VICHY brand MINI COMTESSE LAIT CRU / Raw milk cheese (150g; Lot 010; Use by 01/03/2023) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOCIETE LAITIERE DE VICHY recalls GAPERON DE VACHE cheese (350g; Lot 010) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): JEAN HERVE recalls JEAN HERVE brand Sésame noir Bio / Organic black sesame seeds (various package sizes, lot codes and Best before dates) due to foreign matter contamination (metal wire and pieces). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Sahara Pioneer Ltd. recalls NINA International Egusi Ground – Ground Melon Seeds (227g; Best before 01/01/2024) due to Salmonella and aflatoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): GARTENFRISCH Jung GmbH recalls Snack Time Salatcup Käse & Schinken / Cheese and ham salad cup (300g; Use by dates up to and including 08.02.2023) and Snack Time Salat-Menü Quinoa-Salat mit Ziegenfrischkäse / Quinoa salad with goat cream cheese (350g; Use by dates up to and including 08.02.2023) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Ireland): Western Brand recalls various raw chicken products due to possible Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): L’Administration luxembourgeoise vétérinaire et alimentaire recalls NINA International Egusi Ground – Ground Melon Seeds (227g; Best before 01/01/2024) due to Salmonella and aflatoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): L’Administration luxembourgeoise vétérinaire et alimentaire recalls MONS brand GAPERON Cheese (350g; Lot 010; Use by 23/02/2023) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safrety Recall (Netherlands): Albert Heijn B.V. recalls AH Tiger whole wheat whole and half oven fresh bread (Pack dates up to and including 2/2/2023) due to foreign matter contamination (pieces of plastic).

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

Food Safety Recall (Israel): Shefa Gal Marketing Meat Ltd. recalls Hamburger (1 kg; Expiration date 01.29.2023) due to Salmonella contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Food Safety Recall (New Zealand): Source and Supply Co Limited recalls Hobson’s brand Sandwich Ham (1 kg; Batch 1SA4; Date code 3/03/2023) due to possible Listeria contamination.


TAINTED formats 3
“Reads like a true crime novel” – Food Safety News

Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations?

Click on the link to listen to a short excerpt, then follow the buy links to add a digital, print or audio copy to your personal library.

Chapter 6. Birth of a Pathogen

TAINTED is available in digital format from all major on-line retailers. Press the button to go directly to your preferred digital bookstore.

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Recalls and Alerts: January 31 – February 1, 2023

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

Allergy Alert: Two Rivers Coffee recalls Brooklyn Bean Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa, Pingo Peanut Butter Cookie Hot Chocolate, and Cold Stone Peanut Butter Cup Perfection single serve hot chocolate pods (12-count, 40-count, and 100-count boxes; Produced from January 2021 to November 2022) due to undeclared peanuts. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert: B&G Foods recalls Back to Nature Fudge Mint Cookies (6.4 oz; Best by OCT 02 2023; UPC 8-19898-01102-5) due to undeclared peanut.

Food Safety Recall: Wild Cajun Meals LLC recalls approximately 18,418 pounds of frozen, fully cooked jambalaya and gumbo products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to retail locations in Louisiana, and Texas.

Food Safety Recall: Conagra Brands, Inc. recalls approximately 2,581,816 pounds of canned meat and poultry products due to a packaging defect that may cause the products to become contaminated without showing any outward signs of contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

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Canada

Allergy Alert: Daiso Canada Co. Ltd. recalls Tohato brand Potato Ring Seaweed Flavour (71g; UPC 4 901940 112012; All batch and date codes where milk is not declared on the label) due to undeclared milk. The recalled product was sold in British Columbia.

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Europe

Allergy Alert (Germany): Hai Yen GmbH und Co KG recalls multiple products due to undeclared sulphur dioxide. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): PLUS recalls PLUS Mini Krentenbollen / Mini currant buns (9 pieces; Best before 14-02-2023) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (UK): CK Food and Drinks Ltd recalls The Coconut Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce (250 ml; Batch codes 85119A, 86448A, 86446A; Best before October 2024) due to undeclared crustaceans and fish.

Food Safety Recall (France): ELIO CONCEPT Quadrifoglio recalls Cassata à l’italienne / Italian Cassata (Lot 1) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): ETABLISSEMENT PUBLIC LOCAL D’ENSEIGNEMENT ET DE FORMATION PROFESSIONNELLE AGRICOLES CHAMBERY LA MOTTE-SERVOLEX (SAVOIE) EPLEFPA Chambéry recalls Domaine Reinach brand TOMME DE SAVOIE FERMIERE IGP cheese (Multiple lots) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (France): SILVE INTERMARCHE recalls Monique Ranou brand Rôti de bœuf doré au four / Oven-browned roast beef (4 slices – 100g; Lot 30180354; Use by 14/02/2023) due to foreign matter contamination (pieces of plastic).

Food Safety Recall (France): SOLORMAG E.LECLERC recalls E. LECLERC THIONVILLE brand PIZZA NORDIQUE CUITE / Cooked Nordic pizza (Use by dates between 01/01/2023 and 08/01/2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOLORMAG E.LECLERC recalls E. LECLERC THIONVILLE brand BRUSCHETTA AU SAUMON / Salmon bruschetta (Use by dates between 01/01/2023 and 08/01/2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOLORMAG E.LECLERC recalls E. LECLERC THIONVILLE brand SALADE SCANDINAVE / Scandinavian salad (Use by dates between 03/01/2023 and 08/01/2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOLORMAG E.LECLERC recalls E. LECLERC THIONVILLE brand MINI MORICETTES GARNIES / Stuffed mini moricettes (Use by10/01/2023) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Mowi Bretagne recalls Mowi brand Saumon Fumé Bio / Organic smoked salmon (4 slices – 110g; Lot 01136020; Use by 20/01/2023) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOBLEDIS E.LECLERC BLOIS recalls Centre E.Leclerc Blois brand PIZZA AU SAUMON FUMÉ / Smoked salmon pizza (Lots 010, 011 & 012; Use by dates between 14/01/2023 and 16/01/2023) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Darégal Gourmet Deutschland GmbH recalls BIOGRENO Bio Kräuter-Mix, tiefgefroren / Organic herb mix, frozen (50g; Lot 22CS000352; Best before 26.04.2025) due to shigatoxin-producing E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Eurogroup Deutschland GmbH recalls Simply Sunny brand Feigen getrocknet / Dried figs (400g; Lot OA350020356/2-11-630; Best before 31.05.2023) due to mycotoxin (ochratoxin A) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Agrisalumeria Luiset di Casetta Mauro recalls Agrisalumeria Luiset brand Salame crudo Tradizionale / Traditional raw salami (~400g & ~700g; Lot 121222) due to possible Salmonella and Listeria contamination.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION: CFS instructs the trade to suspend the import of raw oysters produced by Earl Huitres Geay FR 17.452.121 CE in France after the raw oysters were linked to three food poisoning cases from three separate restaurants. All three victims had consumed these oysters.


TAINTED formats 3
“Reads like a true crime novel” – Food Safety News

Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations?

Click on the link to listen to a short excerpt, then follow the buy links to add a digital, print or audio copy to your personal library.

Chapter 6. Birth of a Pathogen

TAINTED is available in digital format from all major on-line retailers. Press the button to go directly to your preferred digital bookstore.

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