New York State Lab Confirms Salmonella in 'Veggie Booty' Snack Food

ALBANY, July 17, 2007 – Tests conducted by the New York State Department of Health have confirmed the presence of Salmonella bacteria in a sample of the snack food product Veggie Booty purchased in New York, tying the sample to a national outbreak.

More than 60 persons, mostly toddlers, in 19 states, including 15 New Yorkers, have become infected with the Salmonella Wandsworth bacterial strain linked to the snack food of puffed rice and corn with a vegetable coating.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

"Don't eat any Veggie Booty products that you have purchased, and discard the contents of any packages that are in the home," advised State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D.

The Department's Wadsworth Center laboratory identified Salmonella Wandsworth in an opened bag of Veggie Booty obtained from a New York State resident infected with the outbreak strain. The Department also confirmed Salmonella Wandsworth in a sample from an unopened bag of Veggie Booty obtained from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The testing in New York supports similar recent findings by the State of Minnesota and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On June 28 Robert's American Gourmet Food Inc. of Sea Cliff, NY, stopped distributing Veggie Booty and initiated a voluntary nationwide recall after the snacks were associated with illness but before confirmed positive test results were available.

Individuals who have recently eaten Veggie Booty and who have experienced any symptoms of salmonellosis, a diarrheal illness, should contact a doctor or other health care provider immediately. Health care providers who observe salmonellosis illness should determine if there is a recent history of eating Veggie Booty and report all suspect cases to state or local health authorities.

Salmonella infections are spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by contact with infected people or animals. Healthy people infected with salmonella may experience mild or severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and occasionally vomiting. In rare circumstances, the infection can get into the bloodstream, which can be serious, especially in the very young or elderly.

In the majority of cases, Salmonella infections resolve on their own in five to seven days and often do not require treatment unless the patient becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Those with severe diarrhea may require rehydration, often with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are usually not necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines.

Nationally, most of the individuals affected in the current outbreak reported bloody diarrhea; six required hospitalization. No deaths have been attributed to this infection.

The New York State Department of Health continues to work with local health departments, the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate this outbreak.

Consumers may contact Robert's American Gourmet at 1-800-626-7557 for reimbursement of their purchase.

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