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Federal health officials are investigating a Salmonella outbreak linked to Duncan Hines cake mixes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that five people have been sickened in three states: Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin. No one has been hospitalized.
The first illness occurred on June 13. The most recent person to become ill developed symptoms on Sept. 17. The lab-confirmed patients range in age from 26 to 72 years old; the median age is 30. Sixty percent of those sickened are female.
It is likely that more illnesses will be added to the case count because of the time lag between when a person becomes sick and when the CDC receives confirmed laboratory test results.
Duncan Hines cake mixes: huge recall
Conagra Brands, a multinational food corporation, has recalled about 2.4 million boxes of four types of Duncan Hines cake mixes because one flavor tested positive for Salmonella Agbeni, the strain of bacteria responsible for the outbreak.
The recalls affect 15.25-ounce packages of:
- Classic White Cake, with “best by” dates of March 7 through March 13, 2019
- Classic Yellow Cake, with “best by” dates of March 9 through March 13, 2019
- Classic Butter Golden Cake, with “best by” dates of March 7 through March 9, 2019
- Signature Confetti Cake, with “best by” dates of March 12 and March 13, 2019.
Consumers who have purchased these Duncan Hines cake mixes are advised not to consume them and to return them to the place of purchase.
Duncan Hines cake mixes: a Salmonella match
Conagra Brands owns the manufacturing facility that produced the Duncan Hines cake mixes. Investigators from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting test samples of products and environmental samples from the equipment and surfaces in the manufacturing plant.
“The FDA is investigating the manufacturing facility that made recalled Duncan Hines cake mixes,” the FDA said in a statement on its website. “FDA and the CDC informed Conagra Brands that a sample of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix that contained Salmonella Agbeni matched the Salmonella collected from ill persons reported to the CDC. This was determined through Whole Genome Sequencing, a type of DNA analysis.”
Duncan Hines cake mixes: wide distribution
The Conagra Brands recall notice stated that the Duncan Hines cake mixes were distributed to retailers across the United States as well as a “limited” number of international markets.
“While it has not been definitively concluded that this product is linked to the outbreak and the investigation is still ongoing, Conagra has decided to voluntarily recall the specific Duncan Hines variety identified, Classic White, and three other varieties — Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti and Classic Yellow — made during the same time period out of an abundance of caution,” the recall notice said.
Duncan Hines cake mixes: be safe
CDC investigators are continuing to interview sick people to determine whether they were exposed to Duncan Hines cake mixes before becoming ill.
The Conagra Brands recall notice said “several of the individuals reported consuming a cake mix at some point prior to becoming ill, and some may have also consumed these products raw and not baked.”
The notice went on to state: “Consumers are reminded to wash their hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw batter products, to follow baking instructions, and to never eat raw batter. Consumers who have purchased these items are advised not to consume them and to return them to the store where originally purchased.”
Consumers with questions can call Conagra Brands at 888-299-7646 or visit www.duncanhines.com.
Duncan Hines cake mixes: about Salmonella
Most people infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps from 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria. The illness can last up to a week, and most people recover without treatment.
In some people, however, diarrhea becomes so severe that hospitalization is required.
A Salmonella infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body. In rare cases, Salmonella can cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.
Children younger than 5, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to experience complications from a Salmonella infection.