By Dan Shapley
FDA warns of possible salmonella contamination in snack food
The FDA released the following press release this evening: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat Veggie Booty snack food, marketed by Robert''s American Gourmet, due to possible contamination with Salmonella Wandsworth, bacteria that cause gastrointestinal illness. FDA advises consumers to throw away any Robert''s American Gourmet brand Veggie Booty they have in their home. Veggie Booty is sold in a flexible plastic foil bag in four ounce, one ounce, and one-half ounce packages. Veggie Booty is often consumed by children, so parents are encouraged to watch their children, and seek medical care if they observe signs of illness. Individuals who have recently eaten Veggie Booty and who have experienced any of the symptoms described below should contact a doctor or other health care provider immediately. Any such illnesses in persons with a recent history of eating Veggie Booty should be reported to state or local health authorities. This warning is based on 52 reports of illness across 17 states, beginning in March 2007. Almost all the illnesses have occurred in children under 10 years old, with the most cases in toddlers. Most persons had reported bloody diarrhea; four were hospitalized. FDA learned of the illnesses on June 27 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted an investigation of the illnesses with state and local health officials. The outbreak is considered likely to be ongoing. Salmonella typically causes diarrhea ( may be bloody); the diarrhea is often accompanied by abdominal cramps and fever. Symptoms typically begin within one to four days after exposure to the bacteria. In infants, persons with poor underlying health and those with weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections. States reporting illnesses include: California (seven cases), Colorado (five cases), Connecticut (one case), Georgia (one case), Indiana (one case), Massachusetts (three cases), Minnesota (two cases), New Hampshire (two cases), New Jersey (two cases), New York (13 cases), Oregon (one case), Pennsylvania (three cases), Tennessee (one), Texas (one), Vermont (three cases), Washington (four cases), and Wisconsin (two cases). Robert''s American Gourmet, of Sea Cliff, N.Y., which markets Veggie Booty, and its contract manufacturer, are fully cooperating with FDA''s investigation into the cause of the contamination. Manufacturing and distribution of this product has ceased, and Robert''s American Gourmet is recalling all potentially contaminated product, including all expiration dates and lot codes. The product is sold in all 50 states and Canada at retail locations and over the Internet. FDA will provide updates as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available."