MOM Brands Co., the makers of Malt-O-Meal cereal products was forced to recall 22,000 cases of cereal across five states. The product, Malt-O-Meal Marshmallow Mateys, used a Vitamin C supplement that MOM had purchased from a supplier in Libertyville, Illinois. The supplement was reportedly made in a plant China and was later discovered to contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze) and other toxic substances. MOM filed a lawsuit against the Illinois company to recoup the money lost in the recall. The two companies settled this week and the case was dismissed.
Food recalls have increased in recent years, according to Food and Drug Administration data. Concern has grown that the large number of recalls, 414 in the third quarter of 2012 alone, is desensitizing people to the danger that tainted food represents. The FDA has stated that it does not comment on trends in recalls, but an increase is certainly bad news for consumers.
The Malt-O-Meal recall was announced and carried out quickly. At this point, no known consumers were sickened by the products tainted with the defective ingredient. An employee at a MOM Brands plant detected an unusual odor from the Vitamin C supplement and an independent lab was commissioned to study the problem. The lab found the ethylene glycol and the products using the supplement were pulled.
Source: Star Tribune, "MOM Brands settles tainted-ingredient suit," by Mike Hughlett, 19 February 2013