Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice has been recalled by Mars Foodservices after 34 students and four teachers at schools in Katy, Texas, experienced “allergic-like” reactions shortly after eating the flavored rice.
This recall was prompted by more than three dozen illnesses in schools in Katy, Texas, according to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) news release. On February 7th, 34 students and four teachers experienced burning, itching rashes, headaches, and nausea that lasted for 30 to 90 minutes. The common food item eaten by those who became ill was Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor, lot number 351EKGRV01. The company decided to remove all its infused rice products from the supply chain, according to CNN. Similar instances of illness were reported in Illinois and North Dakota in recent months.
The FDA reports that in addition to the Mexican Flavor Infused Rice, Mars Foodservices has recalled Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Roasted Chicken Flavor (5- and 25-lb bags), Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Garlic & Butter Flavor (5-lb bags), Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Pilaf (5-lb bags), Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Saffron Flavor (5-lb bags), Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Cheese Flavor (5-lb bags), Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Spanish Flavor (25-lb bags).
Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice comes in a variety of flavors, and is sold through distributors to restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other commercial establishments in 5- and 25-pound bags, CNN reports. Though these products are not sold directly to consumers, the FDA says they can be purchased over the Internet and at warehouse stores like Sam’s Club. The recall does not involve Uncle Ben’s ready to heat, boxed, bag, or cup items sold in supermarkets. These are manufactured separately.
The FDA statement said the flavored rice products should not be served or eaten, and should be returned to the distributor or disposed of. Mars Foodservices will provide reimbursement or replacement, CNBC reports. Wholesale customers should contact their distributors. Customers can reach Mars Foodservices toll free at 800.432.2331 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mars Foodservices said in a statement that it is working closely with the FDA to investigate this issue.