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Uncle Ben's rice products recalled following sickness outbreak

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Mars Foodservices, the company that makes the popular Uncle Ben’s lineup of rice products, is recalling certain products according to a CNN publication from February 10, 2014.

Just recently, kids at three Houston, TX area schools fell ill after eating Uncle Ben’s Mexican Flavor Infused Rice. The children experienced allergic- like reactions that included flushing, burning, and rashes after consuming the rice and it was enough to convince Mars Foodservices to remove all of its infused rice products from stores and distributors.

"Our network of distributors, brokers, and sales associates immediately started notifying their customers and collecting the product," said a spokesperson at Mars Foodservices.

The recalled products include 5 and 25-pound bags of Uncle Ben’s flavor-infused rice. This would include roasted chicken flavor, garlic and butter flavor, Mexican flavor, cheese flavor, saffron flavor, Spanish flavor, and Uncle Ben’s Rice Pilaf.

Mars Foodservices says that some of the recalled products are already in the grasp of web sites that sell the product, like Amazon.com and others. It cannot directly recall these foods, so it initiated a voluntary recall instead.

“We initiated the voluntary recall to ensure that anyone in possession of the product is aware that it should not be served or eaten, but returned to where it was purchased," said a Mars Foodservices spokesperson.

One possible cause of the allergic- like reactions is excess niacin and the pending FDA investigation may, indeed, uncover niacin as the culprit. Niacin is known to cause these types of reactions and has been named as the cause in similar incidents.

Mars Foodservices wants consumers to know that the recall does not affect Uncle Ben’s products sold in supermarkets. The retail store Uncle Ben’s varieties are manufactured separately and are safe to eat. Concerned parents, therefore, need not worry about the rice purchased at their local Walmart but should be wary of any Uncle Ben’s flavored or infused rice products prepared and served in an institutional setting.

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