Ritz is one of many brands affected by a third-party whey supplier who announced the possible contamination last week.
Credit: Getty: Joe Raedle / Staff

The parent company behind Ritz crackers, Mondelez International, has launched a voluntary recall of sixteen plus Ritz-branded snacks that may be contaminated with salmonella. So far, no one has yet reported getting sick. According to a release from Mondelez, the concern for contamination is sparked from the fact that a third-party whey provider reported that their product could be tainted with the potentially life-threatening bacteria—and Mondelez is not the only manufacturer affected by the tainted whey, either. 

Mondelez has released a full list of the 16 products that are part of their recall, which are mostly Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits containing dairy—the flavors of Ritz Cracker Sandwiches affected include Cheese, White Cheddar, and Cream Cheese, which are sold in a variety of snack packs and packages, with expiration dates that range from January to April of 2019. These products were sold nationwide across all 50 states, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Salmonella is a particularly damaging bacteria that can lead to symptoms associated with food poisoning, including high fevers, intense nausea, chronic abdominal pain, and severe bouts of diarrhea—salmonella causes more than 450 deaths in the U.S. every year. But the risk of serious complications related to the illness is tenfold for children and those with weakened immune systems, which is why the company is asking parents to check any Ritz snack in their kitchens to ensure safety. 

More on handling foodborne illnesses in your kitchen: 

Last week, a widespread recall of packaged Swiss Rolls desserts sold at major retailers like Walmart and Food Lion made headlines when the same whey producer linked to this recall—Associated Milk Producers Inc.—first let their clients know of the potential contamination and launched a recall of their own, according to Fortune

But it quickly became clear that the potentially harmful whey sold by Associated Milk Producers Inc. ended up in many different popular products sold all over the supermarket, including the Hungry Man line of frozen dinners sold by Pinnacle Foods. The whey in question was used in ranch dressing that ended up in the mashed potatoes packaged under the Hungry Man “Chipotle BBQ Sauced Boneless Chicken Wyngz" meal, the USDA says.

It's possible that more manufacturers and producers have made products with the same whey behind three major recalls in the last week—while time will tell if more popular snacks and foods have been affected, understanding which items in your pantry contain whey could help you stay clear of any risky food fort the time being.

Salmonella-fueled recalls and outbreaks have been a major concern for home cooks this summer, following a massive outbreak sparked by pre-cut fruit in hundreds of grocery stores across eight states last month. That is in addition to Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal, recalled for a possible salmonella contamination just a week later. 2018, in particular, has been an alarming year for consumers due to the sheer amount of recalls rocking the nation, including one of the worst E. coli outbreaks that Americans have seen in over a decade.