Did FDA just reveal manufacturer of contaminated Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal?

When CDC alerted the public on June 14th to an outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks breakfast cereal, the agency was coy as to who was the actual manufacturer of the contaminated product.

Today, with its weekly release of Warning Letters, FDA may have answered the question.

On July 26, 2018, FDA issued a formal Warning Letter to Kerry Inc., headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin after an inspection of the company’s cereal-production facility in Gridley, IL revealed a manufacturing environment in which Salmonella had made itself at home.

The Warning Letter listed several serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, including:

  1. The Gridley facility’s hazard analysis did not include contamination of ready-to-eat cereal with environmental pathogens such as Salmonella, even though this type of contamination has occurred in the past
  2. Gridley repeated found Salmonella in its production environment, but took no corrective action
  3. Gridley recorded 81 positive Salmonella environmental samples and 32 positive Salmonella vector samples between September 29, 2016 and May 16, 2018
  4. Gridley did not implement sanitation or preventive control procedures upon finding Salmonella in its manufacturing environment
  5. Gridley did not implement the company’s own written environmental monitoring program procedures.

The Warning Letter does not refer to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, or to any other brand or variety of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal by name, nor does it make reference to the Salmonella outbreak linked to Honey Smacks.

This Salmonella-laced production plant manufactures ready-to-eat cereals and “rice crisps intended for pet food“, according to the Warning Letter. One of the Salmonella-positive environmental samples found as a result of the FDA inspection was from the “…bottom of the roll-up door between [the] cereal coating room and [the] processing room for rice crisps intended for pet food.”

In its initial Outbreak Investigation release, CDC said, “Thirty (77%) of 39 people interviewed reported eating cold cereal. In interviews, 14 people specifically reported eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.” 

The Salmonella problem at Gridley dates back almost two full years, to September 2016. It is very likely that other brands of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal manufactured in this facility during the last two years also harbor Salmonella. Some pet foods may be at risk as well.

Where are the other recalls?

Recalls and Alerts: July 9 – 15, 2018

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.

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United States

Outbreak Alert: FDA and CDC are investigating a Cyclospora outbreak in IA, IL, MN, MO, NE, SD, and WI associated with McDonald’s salads. The salads were distributed to approximately 3,000 McDonald’s stores in 14 states: IL, IA, IN, WI, MI, OH, MN, NE, SD, MT, ND, KY, WV, and MO. Two people have been hospitalized; 61 illnesses have been confirmed to date.

Outbreak Alert: CDC and FDA are investigating a Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak linked to fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela. A total of 12 illnesses, including 4 hospitalizations, have been reported from Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Outbreak Alert (Update): CDC reports the outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal has grown to 100 confirmed cases in 33 states. Thirty of the outbreak victims have been hospitalized.

Allergy Alert: Utz Quality Foods, LLC. recalls Utz® Carolina Style Barbeque Potato Chips (2.875 oz; Expiration dates October 6th – 20th; UPC 0-41780-00153-5) and Utz® Carolina Style Barbeque Potato Chips (7.5 oz; Expiration dates August 18th – October 27th; UPC 0-41780-00049-1) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert: Papa John’s Salads and Produce recalls 148 units of the Superfood Salads due to undeclared peanuts. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were distributed to stores in AZ, CA, CO, MT, NM, NV, UT, and WY from July 9, 2018 – July 10, 2018.

Food Safety Recall: The Beautiful Pig, Inc. recalls an undetermined amount of ready-to-eat and raw pork and beef products because the products were produced, packed and distributed without the benefit of inspection and were also under U.S. retention when shipped without approval.

Food Safety Recall: Afandina Halal recalls an undetermined amount of raw poultry products that were produced, packaged and distributed 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 New York City.


Allergy Alert: Bloom Global Foods Inc. recalls certain Organica brand pickle in olive oil products due to undeclared mustard. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were supplied to retailers in Ontario.

Food Safety Recall: Hain Celestial Canada, ULC recalls Europe’s Best Field Berry Mix (600g; Product codes 2020MA03, 2020MA04, 2020MA10 and 2020MA11; UPC 8 71454 03618 7) and Europe’s Best 4-Field Berry Mix (2kg; Product code 2020MA02; UPC 8 71454 00200 7) due to Salmonella contamination.


Allergy Alert (Belgium): Cora recalls Club Sandwich with Ham and Emmental (Best before 14/07/2018) due to undeclared egg and mustard.

Allergy Alert (Czech Republic): Kaufman Czech Republic recalls Madison – biscuits with pieces of dark and milk chocolate and raisins (150g; Batch No. L3181111; Best before March 12, 2019; Product of Poland) due to undeclared peanuts.

Allergy Alert (Czech Republic): VIOLET KANGAROO recalls Roshen bubble bitter chocolate (85g; Batch No. 31.03.18 1; Best by 30 September 2019; product of Ukraine) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (Denmark): Unilever recalls Frisco brand Vienetta Chocolate ice cream (650 mL; Lot nos. L8047BA004, L8047CA004, L8047AA004 and L8048AA004; Best before 02/2020) due to undeclared hazelnuts.

Allergy Alert (Denmark): Coop Denmark recalls Spidskålsalat med mormordressing / Spider bowl with grandmother dressing (345g; Best before 11/07/2018) due to undeclared milk and cream.

Allergy Alert (Finland): Atria Suomi Oy recalls Artesaani lämminsavustettu raakamakkara (240g; Best before July 17, 2018) and Artesaani lämminsavustettu raakamakkara Gouda (240g; Best before July 17, 2018) due to undeclared cheese.

Allergy Alert (France): Manufacturer recalls Sélection Mousquetaires brand P’tit poisson au fromage (200g; Lot #81770060; Best before 24/07/2018) due to undeclared milk and shellfish.

Allergy Alert (Germany): Massafra GmbH recalls Sauce with Vongole Conserve della Nonna (190g; Lot #12LA017; Best before 31.07.2020) due to undeclared egg.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Manufacturer recalls Avoca Sticky Honey Buffalo Chicken Wings (460g; Use by 10.07.2018) due to undeclared gluten (wheat), peanut, soybeans and sesame seeds.

Allergy Alert (Italy): MELEGA & PRINI srl recalls Nordic Seafood A/S Yellowfin Tuna slices (175-225g; Batch #BMI 18/02; Best before 10-11-2019) due to histamine.

Allergy Alert (Italy): Sfoglia Turino recalls Carrefour Pizzette crude di pasta sfoglia surgelate (300g; Lot #L8089; Best before 30-09-2019) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (Scotland): Alice Cairns Butchers Limited recalls various meat products due to undeclared soy. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium)Kaasimport Jan Dupont nv recalls several OLIVIANA brand products due to Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): OKay recalls Escalope de Prague (approx 400g; Best before 14/7/2018) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Aldi recalls Scampi marinated in green pesto and garlic (Lot #BTG203V1812 to BTG203V1848; Best before 03/06/18 to 15/07/18) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): K-Salad recalls Salatmesteren – Sandwich æggesalat / Saladmaster Egg Salad Sandwich (200g; Best before 06/08/2018) due to foreign matter (clear plastic) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Nestlé recalls Guigoz brand 1er âge Formule Epaissie (800g; Lot #8075080624; due to potential Enterobacter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): AUCHAN recalls Gel Manche brand Salade camarguaise and Salade Landaise (3kg; Best before 13/07/2018 to 03/08/2018) due to potential Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Carrefour recalls Produit Blanc brand Pain au chocolat (450g, 10 pieces; Best before 07/08/2018) due to foreign matter (metal) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Selles/Cher recalls Plaza André brand cheese made from raw goat milk (Lot #2106; Best before 19/08/18) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Manufacturer recalls Capitaine Houat brand Cooked whole medium-sized shrimp, refrigerated (Sold from 28/06 through 09/07) due to Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Iceland): Krónan ehf recalls Krone brand Luxurious Pork Casserole, Luxurious Pork Casserole Italian Mariner, Luxurious Pork Cake New York (All best before dates) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Cesare Fiorucci S.r.l. recalls Prosciutto Cotto Quanto Basta, two servings (90g; Lot #8278001840; Best before 05-08-2018) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Aldi recalls Scampi marinated in green pesto and garlic (Lot #BTG203V1812 to BTG203V1848; Best before 03/06/18 to 15/07/18) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): CORA et LIDL recall various Tapenades due to Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Albert Heijn recalls AH French free-range chicken fillet (Best before 17-07-2018, AH French chicken breast cubes (Best before 15-07-2018), AH French chicken filet cheeses (Best before 15-07-2018) and AH French chicken fillet (Best before 14-07-2018) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Dupontcheese recalls various cheese spreads and pesto spreads due to Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Coop recalls Coop Chopped schnitzel with 30% vegetables (2 x 100g; Best before 09/07 – 20/07) due to Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Dunnes Stores recalls Dunnes Stores brand Basil Pesto (130g; All batch codes and best before dates) due to Salmonella contamination.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

Food Safety Recall (Israel): Yinon recalls Yinon Frozen Puff Pastry (1kg; Best by 27.06.19) due to Salmonella contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (New Zealand): Chantal Organics Ltd recalls Loving Earth brand Coconut Chocolate Butter (175g glass jar; Best before 15/9/2019; Product of Australia) due to undeclared tree nuts.

24 hospitalized in Salmonella outbreak linked to Kellogg cereal

Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks® sweetened puffed wheat cereal has been linked to 73 cases of Salmonella Mbandaka illnesses in 31 states across the USA according to a report released yesterday evening (June 14th) by CDC.

Epidemiological evidence, based on interviews of some of the outbreak victims, pointed the finger at the Kellogg’s cereal.

The Kellogg Company announced an entire year’s range of ‘Best if used by’ dates in a recall notice posted shortly before the CDC news release.

The recalled items are:
Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks® cereal (23-oz pkg; UPC 3800014810; Best if used by JUN 14, 2018 through JUN 14, 2019)
Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks® cereal (15.3-oz pkg; UPC 3800039103; Best if used by JUN 14, 2018 through JUN 14, 2019)

Both package sizes were distributed nationwide in the USA. There was also limited distribution of the 15.3-oz package sizes in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, Guam, Tahiti and Saipan.

According to the recall notice, the Honey Smacks cereal was manufactured for Kellogg by a third party. FDA has launched an inspection of the manufacturing facility.

The outbreak began the first week in March, with the most recent illness onset reported as May 28th. CDC warns that more recent illnesses likely have not yet been reported, and the toll of the outbreak is expected to grow. It usually takes 2-4 weeks between the time a person falls ill with salmonellosis and the time CDC receives a report.

Of the 73 confirmed outbreak victims, roughly two-thirds are female. Ages of the victims range from less than one year to 87 years of age. Twenty-four of the outbreak victims have been hospitalized.

Confirmed cases have been reported from the following states: Alabama (2), Arizona (1), California (5), Connecticut (3), Georgia (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (2), Massachusetts (5), Maryland (1), Michigan (4), Mississippi (1), Montana (1), North Carolina (3), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New York (7), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (2), Utah (1), Virginia (4), Washington (3), Wisconsin (1), West Virginia (3).

CDC offers the following advice to consumers, restaurants and retailers

  • Do not eat recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. Check your home for the recalled cereal and throw it away, or return it to the place of purchase for a refund.
    • Even if some of the cereal was eaten and no one got sick, throw the rest of it away or return it for a refund.
    • If you store cereal in another container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or type, throw it away.
    • Thoroughly wash the container with warm, soapy water before using it again, to remove harmful germs that could contaminate other food.
  • Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from consuming recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal
  • Retailers should not sell or serve recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

The recalled cereal – especially in the 15.3-oz size – was in wide distribution across the USA. As of June 15, the following retailers have posted their own recall notices and product alerts. Please follow the links to access your retailer’s web site. This is not a comprehensive list, as some retailers are faster to respond than others.

Big Y
Department of Defense Commissary Agency – both 15.3-oz and 23-oz package sizes
Food City
Food Lion
Giant Food
Harris Teeter
Kroger Group – Kroger stores located in Georgia; South Carolina; Auburn, Alabama; Greater Cincinnati (including Northern Kentucky and Dayton, Ohio plus South Eastern Indiana); Central and Northwest Ohio; Northwestern Virginia panhandle; Michigan; Indiana (except SE Indiana, -Evansville-); Illinois; Eastern Missouri;  Hopkinsville and Bowling Green, Kentucky; Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; Greater Memphis area, Tennessee; Arkansas; Mississippi; Western Kentucky; Jay-C, Roundy’s Wisconsin, Dillons, King Soopers, Fry’s, Kwik Stop, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, QFC, Smiths
Price Chopper
Rite Aid
Save Mart
Stop & Shop
Super 1 Foods