Veggie Booty Tainted with Two Strains of Salmonella

Veggie Booty has tested positive for Salmonella Wandsworth and Salmonella Typhimurium, two strains of salmonella bacteria. The popular snack item was pulled from the shelves last month by manufacturer Robert’s American Gourmet Food, Inc. of Sea Cliff, New York. <"">Veggie Booty, a blend of puffed rice and corn with vegetable coating billed as a healthy alternative snack, has been linked to 75 cases of salmonellosis across twenty states.

Salmonella Wandsworth, a rare strain of salmonella bacteria, sickened people in 65 of the reported cases, while Salmonella Typhimurium was responsible for the remaining ten, according to the Web site of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No deaths have been linked to the salmonella outbreak.

Although symptoms for most of those patients appeared before Robert’s issued a recall of the nationally-distributed Veggie Booty snacks on June 28, the federal Food and Drug Administration continues to caution anyone who might have consumed the tainted snack to watch for symptoms, especially in children.

In 91 percent of the reported cases of salmonellosis linked to Veggie Booty, the affected individual was between 10 months and 3 years old, making infants and toddlers the most vulnerable to this particular outbreak, according to the CDC.

The symbol of Robert’s American Gourmet, a company that prides itself on healthy snacks, is a smiling pirate with a parrot on his shoulder, hence the nickname “Veggie Booty”. The company’s Web site describes its product as appealing to all ages, claiming “everybody loved (its first snack), even babies!”

Robert’s has also recalled another product, Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks, because it used the same seasoning that was used to flavor its Veggie Booty snacks. An ingredient in the seasoning that originated in China is believed to be responsible for the salmonella contamination, the company said in a July 12 press release.

The front page of the Robert’s Gourmet Foods Web site currently bears an “apology from Robert” directed to consumers, and the company has promised in the press release to “implement testing and sampling measures which far exceed all industry and Government standards” as well as to “purchase ingredients directly from domestic sources whenever possible” in the future.

Reported salmonellosis cases linked with the Veggie Booty snack have spanned twenty states, with 15 sickened people in New York, seven in California, five in Colorado and four in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Fifteen states reported three or fewer cases of salmonella associated with the Veggie Booty snack.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, sometimes bloody diarrhea, along with fever and abdominal cramps. The symptoms usually appear within 72 hours of the onset of the infection and are often disappear without treatment. Hospitalization is required in rare cases. Of the 75 salmonellosis cases linked to Veggie Booty, six patients required hospitalization.

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