Cherrios cereal boxes

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A Massive Recall for Cheerios
| published October 6, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

General Mills is recalling more than 1.8 million boxes of cereal as a result of possibly wheat contamination in boxes labelled “gluten-free.” The only cereals affected are Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios.

According to General Mills, the boxes of cereal were produced at the company’s Lodi, California plant, where wheat food products were accidentally introduced into the preparation and assembly process. Though the levels of wheat are relatively low, consumers who are allergic to wheat—in any quantity—could become sick as a result of the contamination. In theory, people who are not allergic to wheat products will not be impacted by the recall, but General Mills is requesting that all boxes be returned anyway as a precaution.

The specific production line in Lodi is meant to be a “gluten-free” work zone, but an unspecified quantity of wheat flour was apparently brought into the area inadvertently. The levels of contamination may be enough to adversely impact people with celiac disease, or any intolerance to wheat, according to a company spokesperson.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company said that the incident did not impact any other food products, as the preparation area and assembly line affected only produced Cheerios. General Mills also owns other food subsidiaries, such as Haagen-Dazs and Annie’s Homegrown.

General Mills prepared a press release, and also took to social media and the internet to apologize, and to spread the word of the massive recall, which could affect consumers who purchased Cheerios or Honey Nut Cheerios in all 50 states. General Mills said the packages in question will show the following better-if-used-by date on the top of the carton: 14JULY2016 LD.

General Mills also posted information about the recall on its website.

"We want to assure you,” the statement reads, “that this was an isolated incident and we have implemented a solution to ensure that this will not happen again. We’ll also continue to test products and our oat flour supply extensively to ensure our products meet the gluten-free standard.”

The company said that a temporary interruption to rail delivery at its Lodi operation triggered the mishap, causing some of the same supplies to be off-loaded and delivered via semi-truck and delivery service from another location. In the confusion, boxes were mishandled, leading to the wheat-flour products being introduced to the gluten-free production line.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Blue Bell Identifies Source of Contamination; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; June 11, 2015.