Rice Recalled After Skin Reactions in Children

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration is warning against eating Uncle Ben's rice products served at schools, restaurants, hospitals and other food service institutions after children in three states had skin reactions and other symptoms that were linked to the rice.

Uncle Ben's products in grocery stores have not been recalled.

Mars Foodservices of Greenville, Miss., is recalling 5- and 25-pound bags of the rice.

The FDA said that it found out on Feb. 7 that 34 students and four teachers in Katy, Texas, had experienced burning, itching rashes, headaches and nausea for 30 to 90 minutes after eating the rice. The symptoms eventually went away.

The FDA said 25 students in Illinois had reported a similar reaction in December. Another incident was reported in North Dakota in October.

STATEMENT FROM THE FDA:

The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local officials have been investigating a cluster of illnesses associated with Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor sold in 5- and 25-pound bags. 
 
On Feb. 7, 2014, the FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network (CORE) was notified of a cluster of illnesses at three public schools in Katy, Texas. Thirty-four students and four teachers experienced burning, itching rashes, headaches and nausea for 30 to 90 minutes, before the symptoms went away. Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor with the lot number 351EKGRV01, made by Mars Foodservices of Greenville, Miss., was the common food item eaten by ill students.
 
On Dec. 4, 2013, the Illinois Department of Public Health notified CDC of 25 children with similar skin reactions following a school lunch that served an Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice product. North Dakota reported a similar incident that occurred on Oct. 30, 2013. Three children in a daycare and one college student experienced flushing reactions 45 minutes after consuming an Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice product.
 
Mars Foodservices is recalling all bags and all lot numbers of its Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice products produced in 2013: 
  • UNCLE BEN’S INFUSED Rice Roasted Chicken Flavor (5- and 25-pounds)
  • UNCLE BEN’S INFUSED Rice Garlic & Butter Flavor (5-pounds)
  • UNCLE BEN’S INFUSED Rice Mexican Flavor (5- and 25-pounds)
  • UNCLE BEN’S INFUSED Rice Pilaf (5-pounds)
  • UNCLE BEN’S INFUSED Rice Saffron Flavor (5-pounds)
  • UNCLE BEN’S INFUSED Rice Cheese Flavor (5-pounds)
  • UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED Rice Spanish Flavor (25-pounds)
Although this product is not typically marketed to individual consumers, it may be available over the Internet and at warehouse-type retailers.
 
Uncle Ben’s Brand Ready to Heat, Boxed, Bag or Cup products sold at grocery stores and other retail outlets are not being recalled.
 
Investigation into this outbreak continues. 
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