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Uncle Ben's infused rice recalled after cluster illnesses reported

Feb. 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Monday some Uncle Ben's infused rice has been recalled after being linked to illnesses in three states.

Mars Foodservices is recalling all 5- and 25-pound bags of Uncle Ben's Infused Rice produced in 2013, the FDA said in a release. Government officials are investigating the illness clusters.

Thirty-four students and four teachers at three public schools in Katy, Texas, who had all eaten the suspect rice experienced burning, itching rashes, headaches and nausea for 30-90 minutes Friday, the FDA said.

Federal officials also said Illinois health officials reported 25 children had similar skin reactions Dec. 4 after eating a school lunch that included an Uncle Ben's infused rice product. North Dakota reported a similar incident Oct. 30 involving three children in a daycare and one college student.

The FDA said "out of an abundance of caution" it was warning food service companies and consumers not to use any of the rice, which typically would be distributed to restaurants, schools, hospitals and other commercial enterprises. The rice also may be available over the Internet and at warehouse-type retailers.

The FDA recommends anyone who has the rice to return it to their point of purchase or dispose of it.

The recalled rice involved in the Texas cluster has lot number 351EKGRV01 and was produced by Mars Foodservices of Greenville, Miss.

Also being recalled are Uncle Ben's infused rice roasted chicken flavor, garlic and butter flavor, rice pilaf, saffron flavor, cheese flavor and Spanish flavor.

The FDA said Uncle Ben's Brand Ready to Heat, Boxed, Bag or Cup products sold at grocery stores and other retail outlets are not being recalled.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. eastern time, or to consult the fda.gov website: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm.

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