Malt-O-Meal launches cereal recall

by Josh Sosland
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MINNEAPOLIS — Malt-O-Meal, a privately-held breakfast cereal company, has voluntarily recalled its unsweetened puffed rice and puffed wheat cereals because they may have been contaminated with Salmonella.

The recall involves product with "best if used by" dates between April 8, 2008, and March 18, 2009. The recall includes cereal sold under the Malt-O-Meal brand as well as certain private label brands including Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops and Weis Quality.

Malt-O-Meal said no illnesses have been reported in connection with the Salmonella detection and that the rest of the company’s products are not affected. The puffed grain cereals affected by the recall equate to less than half a per cent of the company’s annual production of ready-to-eat cereal.

The recall was initiated when the company detected the presence of Salmonella in its product during a routine internal food safety test. The contaminated product was made on March 24.

A follow-up investigation into the root cause indicated that additional product may have been exposed to the contaminant, prompting the company to recall product with a "Best if used by" date range totaling more than 11 months.

"Our first and highest priority is the safety of the consumer who uses our products," said Chris Neugent, Malt-O-Meal chief executive officer. "It’s important that we spread the word about this situation quickly and broadly in order to remove even the slightest possibility that someone will consume something harmful. We apologize for this situation and promise to do everything to complete the recall as quickly as possible."

Malt-O-Meal, the fourth largest ready-to-eat cereal manufacturer in the United States, said it has determined the root cause and has taken corrective measures. The root cause of the contamination was not disclosed.

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