The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the investigation of a multistate Salmonella Agbeni outbreak with a suspected link to cake mix.
The link was identified when health officials in Oregon discovered the presence of Salmonella Agbeni in a box of Duncan Hines cake mix. From that point, the CDC reviewed the PulseNet database and identified 5 cases of the same strain of Salmonella reported in 3 states.
Onset of illness ranges from June 13, 2018, to September 17, 2018. Those who have been infected range in age from 26 to 72 years, with a median age of 30; 60% are female. There have been no hospitalizations of deaths reported as of November 8, 2018.
As part of the epidemiological investigation, the infected individuals were interviewed about consumption and exposure in the week prior to onset of illness. Two individuals reported eating cake and 1 reported eating raw cake mix. The CDC is working alongside state health officials in Oregon to determine if the cake and raw cake mix were made with Duncan Hines cake mixes. The CDC is also testing samples from those who became ill to determine if the infections are drug-resistant.
In response to the outbreak, Conagra Brands of Chicago, Illinois—the parent company of Duncan Hines—issued a recall for 15.25oz packages of classic white, classic yellow, classic butter golden, and signature confetti cake mixes with expiration dates ranging between March 7, 2019, and March 13, 2019.
Scott Gottlieb, MD, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently issued a tweet warning consumers that recalled cake mixes should be thrown out or returned to a store for a refund.
RECALL ALERT: Relates to certain 15.25oz boxes of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake, Yellow Cake, Butter Golden Cake and Signature Confetti Cake. Consumers who have purchased these items are advised not to consume them and to return them to the store where originally purchased.
— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) November 6, 2018
The FDA is also participating in the outbreak investigation and is conducting an inspection at the manufacturing facility owned by Conagra Brands that produces the Duncan Hines cake mixes. FDA officials are also collecting environmental and product samples.
Health officials from both the CDC and FDA have issued reminders that it is unsafe to eat any raw cake mix, batter, or raw dough that should be cooked or baked prior to consumption. Hands, surfaces, and utensils that make contact with raw batter or dough should be washed thoroughly prior to having contact with other foods. Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. The illness usually persists for 4 to 7 days and most individuals recover without treatment. However, in some cases, hospitalization may be required due to severe symptoms. Young children, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to complications.
Health care providers who practice in areas affected by the outbreak should be cognizant of these symptoms and consider Salmonella as a potential diagnosis.
This is an ongoing investigation and updates will be provided as more information become available.
For the most recent case counts associated with the Salmonella Agbeni outbreak with a suspected link to cake mixes, check out the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.