The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating illnesses of children and teachers in three states to determine if they may have been caused by Uncle Ben’s infused rice served in schools and day cares.
The illnesses affected children in Texas, Illinois, and North Dakota. One of the worst outbreaks was in Katy, Texas, where 34 students and four teachers at three different schools reported skin reactions, burning, headaches, and nausea after eating Uncle Ben’s “Mexican flavor” infused rice. The symptoms persisted for 30 to 90 minutes.
The reactions prompted the rice’s producer, Mars Foodservices, to recall 5- and 25-pound bags of various rice products sold mostly to schools, restaurants, hospitals and other commercial facilities. The bags of rice were also distributed to warehouse retail outlets. The recall affects all bags and all lot numbers of rice products made in 2013, including Uncle Ben’s roasted chicken, garlic and butter, cheese and Spanish flavors.
The recall does not affect Uncle Ben’s Ready to Heat, Boxed, Bag or Cup products sold directly to consumers at grocery stores.
The FDA says that businesses and consumers who have the rice products should not use then and should either dispose of the rice or return it to the place where they purchased it.