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Salmonella fear spurs a recall by Malt-O-Meal

SHARE Salmonella fear spurs a recall by Malt-O-Meal

Malt-O-Meal Inc. recalled up to 3 million pounds of cereal nationwide Friday because of a possible link to salmonella poisoning in 12 states.

The cereal manufacturer asked grocers to pull from their shelves the Malt-O-Meal brand of plain Toasty-Os and Toasted Oats, as well as plain toasted oat cereals sold at 38 supermarket chains under various brand names."Obviously the Malt-O-Meal company is deeply concerned that one of our products, the plain toasted oat cereal, has been linked to some illnesses," president John Lettmann said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported nearly 200 cases of an unusual strain of salmonella since early April and said 40 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The cause of the contamination isn't known. "It'll probably be days or weeks before we know anything," said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

Stores where the cereals are sold include Kroger's, A&P, Safeway, Jewel and Foodland.

Idaho consumers are being warned to avoid the cereal sold under these brand names: IGA, Flavorite, Janet Lee, Malt-O-Meal, Safeway, Smith's and Western Family.

One confirmed case of salmonella infection has been linked to the product in Idaho. The victim, an 8-month-old Boise-area child, has recovered.

Major grocery stores in Salt Lake City continued stocking Malt-O-Meal cereal on their shelves, though no plain toasted oat products were found. Managers of local stores declined comment, referring all media questions to their corporate offices.

The affected cereal is sold in 10- to 40-ounce bags and 15- and 35-ounce boxes. They should be returned to the store where purchased.

Dr. John Lumpkin, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that cereal is an unusual source of salmonella. Bacteria may have entered the cereal through contamination of a water pipe or something else in the manufacturing process or through human contamination, he said.