ST. PAUL, Minn. – Following up on last week’s alerts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Minnesota Department of Health regarding “Veggie Booty” snack food, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) laboratory has tested a sample of the product and confirmed the presence of Salmonella Wandsworth.
The strain of the bacteria found by MDA matches the genetic fingerprint of the type that made consumers ill in multiple states. MDA’s lab is the first in the nation to find the bacteria in the product. The previous FDA alert had been based on investigators’ determination that the common link among ill consumers was that they had eaten Veggie Booty. Finding the bacteria in the product confirms this link.
Veggie Booty, a snack comprised of puffed rice, corn and a vegetable coating, is often consumed by children. Parents of children who may have eaten Veggie Booty are advised to watch their children for signs of illness. Salmonella typically causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Symptoms typically begin within one to four days after exposure to the bacteria. While most people recover within days, very young children, elderly adults and people with weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for more severe complications.
According to the FDA alert, Veggie Booty is marketed by Robert’s American Gourmet, of Sea Cliff, New York. Veggie Booty is sold in a flexible plastic foil bag in four-ounce, one-ounce, and one-half ounce packages. The company has recalled Veggie Booty products as well as a similar line of snacks called Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks Snack Food.
While Salmonella is a frequent culprit in foodborne illness, this particular variety Salmonella Wandsworth is a rare strain not believed to have been associated with prior outbreaks of human illness in the United States. To date, this outbreak has been tied to more than 50 reported illnesses in 17 states, including at least two people in Minnesota.