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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Will Malt-O-Meal Release Salmonella Serotype? Why not?

In 1998, the CDC reported a Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Serotype Agona Infections Linked to Toasted Oats Cereal — United States, April-May.  During April-May 1998, a total of 11 states reported an increase in cases of Salmonella serotype Agona infections; as of June 8, a total of 209 cases have been reported and at least 47 persons have been hospitalized, representing an eightfold increase over the median number of cases reported in those states during 1993-1997. The states reporting increases were Illinois (49 cases), Indiana (30), Ohio (29), New York (24), Missouri (22), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (15), Iowa (eight), Wisconsin (six), Kansas (four), and West Virginia (two). This report summarizes the outbreak investigation by local, state, and federal public health officials, which implicated Millville brand plain Toasted Oats cereal manufactured by Malt-O-Meal, Inc. as the cause of illness.

  Now, once again Malt-O-Meal cereals are recalled.  Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalled its unsweetened Puffed Rice and unsweetened Puffed Wheat Cereals produced with ‘Best if Used By’ dates ranging from April 8, 2008, to March 18, 2009, because of the potential salmonella contamination.  Consumers should check their pantries for Malt-O-Meal, Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops and Weise Quality Unsweetened Puffed Rice and Wheat Cereals in 6, 12 and 16-ounce bags.  A comprehensive listing of affected products is available online at www.malt-o-meal.com/recallinfo.

According to Malt-O-Meal, "there have been no illnesses or injuries reported to date."  However, without the release by Malt-to-Meal of the Salmonella serotype, how are we to know that the claim of no illnesses is actually the case?