The CDC says, "Do not eat this cereal!"
Credit: Photo by Juanmonino via Getty Images

Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses seem to be popping up with increasing regularity these days. That, or we’re more attuned to CDC warnings that’ll keep us from poisoning ourselves. And while the E. coli panic this spring centered on lettuce seemed to stoke widespread fear, the latest salmonella outbreak seems to affect a cartoonish breakfast cereal that some people may not even remember.

This week, the CDC reiterated what many people who have eaten more than one type of cereal in their life probably already know: You shouldn’t eat Honey Smacks cereal. It’s not because this sweetened, puffed rice offering doesn’t taste good (which is objectively true), but because they’re causing what’s ballooned into a fairly sizable salmonella scare.

Back on June 14, Kellogg’s issued a voluntary Honey Smacks recall, leading to the removal of 1.3 million boxes from store shelves. The decision was made after a CDC investigation determined that a multi-state salmonella outbreak could be traced back to the particular cereal brand. While the move was aimed at getting boxes with certain expiration dates out of circulation, the CDC thinks that doesn’t go far enough. A tweet the government organization posted on July 12 now warns consumers to avoid the cereal altogether for the time being.

At present, Smacks-based salmonella has afflicted at least 100 people scattered across 33 states. Of those infected, 30 have been hospitalized, but thankfully no deaths have been reported. But each and every one of them has had to suffer through an illness whose symptoms include fever, cramps, and diarrhea that can develop within 12 to 72 hours of exposure.

If you were one of those kids who’d rather go hungry than have to eat Smacks out of the Kellogg’s mini cereal box variety pack back in the day, consider yourself safe. For the rest of you who somehow legitimately enjoy eating this cereal, hopefully this whole salmonella scenario serves as a warning that your taste needs to evolve.