The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning against eating Uncle Ben's rice products that are served at schools, restaurants, hospitals or other food institutions. Children in three states have had skin reactions and other symptoms that are linked to the rice.
Mars Foodservices is recalling their 5 and 50 pound bags of Uncle Ben's rice that are typically sold to food service establishments, but are also available to consumers over the Internet.
Uncle Ben's rice that is sold in grocery stores is not a part of the recall. This includes products that are sold as boxed, bagged or in a cup.
An excess of niacin, also known as vitamin B3, may be the reason for the recall. The FDA said that overexposure to niacin can cause skin reactions, and very large doses can cause indigestion and nausea.
Thirty-four students and four teachers in Katy, Texas, experienced burning, itching rashes, headaches and nausea for 30 to 90 minutes after eating the rice. The symptoms eventually went away.
The FDA said it has not confirmed that the Texas incident was caused by niacin, but the symptoms are similar. Another incident was reported in North Dakota in October, when three children in day care and one college student became sick after eating an Uncle Ben's rice product. The rice has also been linked to similar reactions in 25 Illinois school children in December.
While Mars Foodservice has been working with the FDA and its buyers to get the rice out of lunch lines, agency officials said they are concerned that some consumers may be able to get the rice on the Internet or at warehouse-type retailers. As of Monday, several of the recalled products were still available on Amazon.com.
Mars Foodservices US is voluntarily recalling their UNCLE BEN"S INFUSED® Rice products. The company's website says that consumers should not serve or eat this product and return it to the distributer where it was purchased. The list of recalled products are:
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Roasted Chicken Flavor (25 lbs.)
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Garlic & Butter Flavor (5-lbs)
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Mexican Flavor (25-lbs)
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Pilaf (5-lbs)
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Saffron Flavor (5-lbs)
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Cheese Flavor (5-lbs)
- UNCLE BEN'S INFUSED® Rice Spanish Flavor (25-lbs)
For more information or assistance, you can call toll free at 800-432-2331 or email email@example.com.
Sources: Mary Clare Jalonick,