Salmonella ‘Thriving’ at Honey Smacks Maker

It's rare for cereal to be contaminated with Salmonella.

If you’re Dig ‘Em the frog, the hardest thing you have to deal with in your life is probably just carrying around that giant spoon. I mean, who wouldn’t want to jam out in a baseball cap and eat Honey Smacks all day?

Well, as you probably know, the CDC has been warning consumers all summer NOT to do that and the reason is that Honey Smacks is making people ill. Starting in March of 2018, there were 135 people who reported being sickened by Smacks, and 35 of them were hospitalized.

And while Salmonella has long-been identified as the issue, it’s said to be a rare contamination incidence in cereals and granolas, since they are typically baked to the point of destroying pathogens. The culprit here was, instead, the honey glaze. And it makes sense when you look at the history of the plant responsible for that step in the food production process.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that salmonella “is thriving” in the factory that manufactured the Smacks in question – a Gridley, IL plant owned by ingredient company Kerry, Inc.

The FDA found unsanitary conditions at Kerry, specifically “more than 100 positive salmonella samples in a less than two-year period ending last spring, including on production lines and in a cereal-coating room.”

The FDA investigation spurred Kerry to make some changes, including re-engineering equipment in order to improve sanitation, and also enhancing training for employees. But it was clearly too late to save the 11 million boxes of Smacks that were recalled due to the contamination.

In an update posted last week, the CDC stressed its belief that there was still quite a bit of contaminated cereal out there just sitting on people’s shelves, and that Smacks fans should be mindful to discard anything with a use-by date of June, 14th 2019.

And since you’ll likely have to pry the Honey Smacks from his cold, dead, webbed hands, somebody should probably check on Dig ‘Em.