Uncle Ben’s rice products cause illness outbreak in Texas

A well known rice product is causing illness in Texas.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning against the consumption of Uncle Ben’s rice products in food-service establishments such as schools, hospitals and restaurants, after children in multiple states reportedly came down with symptoms of nausea, headaches and rashes after consuming the popular rice.

Mars Food Services based in Greenville, Miss., has recalled five and 25-pound bags of Uncle Ben’s Infused rice products in response to the recent health complications linked to the rice. In a statement, Mars Foodservices claimed that the affected rice is manufactured separately and sold through wholesale distribution, meaning that Uncle Ben’s brand rice products sold in grocery stores and other retail establishments have not been affected by the recent recall, and are deemed safe for consumption.

Niacin, which is used to enrich rice as required by both federal and state governments, commonly causes the above mentioned symptoms when large quantities are ingested.

Last Friday, after more than 30 students and teachers from three different schools in Katy, Tex., reportedly fell victim to symptoms of excessive niacin consumption , an investigation found that Uncle Ben’s Infused Rice Mexican Flavor was commonly consumed among all of the victims.

Though the symptoms resulting from the rice are reminiscent of over-consumption of niacin, the FDA has not confirmed whether excess-niacin was the cause. In December 2013, a similar symptoms were found in a group of children in Illinois. The FDA found an increased amount of niacin in leftover Uncle Ben’s rice from the school’s cafeteria. Currently, the FDA is working with Mars Foodservices to investigate the cause of the illnesses which occurred in Texas.

The current recall includes all lot number of 2013 Uncle Ben’s Infused rice products sold for wholesale in five and 25-pound bags. Recalled flavors include Roasted Chicken, Garlic and Butter, Mexican, Pilaf, Saffron, Cheese and Spanish flavors.

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