Quaker Granola Bars Recalled for Potential Salmonella Risks

The recall involves over 40 popular granola bars, cereal, and snack box products manufactured by the Quaker Oats Company.

On December 15, the Quaker Oats Company recalled dozens of granola bars and cereals due to potential salmonella contamination. According to an announcement posted by the FDA, the products were sold throughout all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Saipan.

The recall involves more than 40 products, including Quaker's Big Chewy Bars Chocolate Chip, Chewy Bars Oatmeal Raisin, Chewy Dipps Chocolate Chip, Simply Granola Oats, Honey & Almonds Cereal, and snack boxes like Frito-Lay Chips and Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Variety Pack.

On January 11, Quaker Oats expanded the recall to include more products. Cereals such as Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Cap'n Crunch Cereal and Instant Oatmeal, and Gatorade Protein Bar Peanut Butter Chocolate are a few of the two dozen additional foods that have the potential for salmonella contamination.

However, the recall does not include the following products:

  • Quaker Oats
  • Quaker Instant Oats
  • Quaker Grits
  • Quaker Oat Bran
  • Quaker Oat Flour
  • Quaker Rice Snacks

The company says it has received no confirmed reports of illness related to the products. However, it urges consumers to discard any foods listed in the recall.

Consumers with any food item on the product recall list can contact Quaker Consumer Relations from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday, at 1-800-492-9322 or visit the company's website for more information or to receive a refund.

How does salmonella get into manufactured food?

Salmonella lives in the digestive tracts of animals and birds and is shed through feces, which is how humans and animals can come into contact with the bacteria.

The bacteria can cause severe illness in individuals with weakened immune systems, young children, and older adults. People can become infected by ingesting contaminated food and water and experience symptoms including fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.

While the primary source of salmonella exposure is raw meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized dairy, contaminated water, or pets, the bacteria can also appear in processed food products.

Most recently, Mid America Pet Food recalled various dog and cat food brands due to salmonella contamination that sickened several people.

But how do food products such as granola bars become tainted with salmonella?

According to a 2013 study, salmonella poses a significant challenge for food companies because it can survive for long periods in a dry state on work surfaces and food processing equipment.

The researchers suggest that the primary causes of salmonella contamination in low-moisture foods such as cereal and granola are poor sanitation practices, substandard facilities, equipment design, and improper maintenance.

In addition, raw materials used to make food products, like eggs and milk, can contain salmonella and introduce bacteria into the manufacturing facility.

The FDA recommends that food manufacturers test their products for the presence of salmonella. Manufacturers will recall a food product if testing shows the bacteria is present or they have reason to believe it may be contaminated.

In this latest recall, the Quaker Oats Company says the granola products in question "have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella." However, the company has not revealed the source of the potential contamination.

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