We expect our food to be safe. Every day, people all across the country purchase food from around the world believing it IS safe. Federal, state and local agencies from the Food and Drug Administration to the United States Department of Agriculture to our local health departments are supposed to ensure our food is safe. Unfortunately, our food isn’t always safe. Whether due to improper fertilization, negligent safety practices in factories or gross misconduct by uncaring companies, unsafe food is entering our food supply chain with increasing and concerning frequency.
The latest case of food contamination involves unsweetened Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cereals manufactured by the Malt-O-Meal company in Minnesota. So far, 23 people from 16 states have been diagnosed with the same strain of Salmonella found in the contaminated cereal, and Malt-O-Meal has issued a voluntary recall. Three of the sickened individuals are reported to be from New York. Local grocery stores report that the contaminated cereal has been removed from store shelves, or that they did not carry the brand. The FDA said the recalled products were distributed nationally under the Malt-O-Meal brand name, as well as private labels including Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops and Weis Quality. The cereal bags have “best if used by” dates from April 8, 2008 (coded as APR0808), through March 18, 2009 (coded as MAR1809). Salmonella is a serious illness that can be fatal to children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system. It causes nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
If you think you may have contracted Salmonella from the tainted cereal, you should see your doctor and be tested for Salmonella. If you have a package of the recalled cereal DO NOT THROW IT OUT!!! Instead, secure the package so that no one else will consume it, attempt to locate your sales receipt showing your purchase of the contaminated cereal and consult legal counsel immediately.
There are links to additional stories about the outbreak below.
Thanks for reading,
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
Personal Injury and Malpractice Attorney
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901