Potential Vitamin Overdose from Uncle Ben’s Rice Prompts Food Recall for Schools
A potential vitamin overdose in Uncle Ben’s flavored rice has prompted a food recall for institutional-sized bags served as part of school lunches.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers not to eat the rice, although there have been no reports so far of grocery store-sized packages causing illness.
On Friday, February 7th, students in three public schools in Katy, Texas experienced symptoms that the FDA believes are related to a vitamin B3, also called niacin, overdose. The symptoms included nausea, burning, itching rashes, and headaches, and disappeared after 30 to 90 minutes.
Two other previous incidents involving Uncle Ben’s flavored rice in institutional sized packages backed up the food recall. North Dakota reported a similar incident on October 30th, 2013, and 25 students in Illinois were sickened on December 4th, 2013.
“Overexposure to niacin can lead to skin reactions such as redness and flushing, itching and dry skin. Very large doses can cause indigestion and nausea,” said FDA’s Theresa Eisenman.
“There is no confirmation at this time that the Texas incident was caused by excess niacin, and the rice eaten was not part of the previous recall. Investigation into this outbreak continues,” Eisenman said.
Niacin is routinely added to foods, because a lack of the vitamin can lead to pellagra, which causes nausea, skin and mouth lesions, headache, and exhaustion. Prior to common use of the additive in the 1930’s, pellagra was associated with poor diet and poverty in the United States.
The flavored rice subject to the food recall was sold in 5 to 25-lb bags, and was distributed to restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other commercial institutions. Uncle Ben’s Brand Ready to Heat, Boxed, Bag, or Cup products sold in grocery stores are not under the food recall, although it is possible that home consumers could purchase the industrial-sized bags through the internet or at big-box retailers like Costco.
The flavored rice products under food recall are:
- 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)
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Every year, thousands of consumers sustain serious injuries from defective products and foods. A personal injury lawyer can help you with an injury you may receive. Many of these injuries could be avoided if the manufacturers or distributors of these products took additional steps to ensure consumer safety. Defective products that commonly cause injuries include medical devices, pharmaceutical products, and other defective products such as toys, cars, food, medication, and automotive parts.
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