The Salmonella outbreak that triggered a recall of Duncan Hines cake mixes has ended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak sickened seven people in five states. Maryland and Ohio each reported two cases. Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin each reported one.
Duncan Hines Cake Mix Recall
On November 5, 2018, ConAgra Brands issued a recall four varieties of Duncan Hines cake mix after Oregon health officials tested a box of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix and found Salmonella Agbeni. The recall included specific lots of the Classic White cake mix, as well as three other varieties: Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti and Classic Yellow cakes mixes.
Salmonella Outbreak Investigation
The outbreak was announced on November 5, 2018. At that time, five illnesses had been identified: two in Maryland, two in Ohio and one in Wisconsin. Since then, two more illnesses, one in Florida and one in Missouri were identified.
Using its national subtyping database, the CDC found seven illnesses caused by the same strain. DNA “fingerprinting” tests, called whole genome sequencing, showed the strains cultured from the case-patients were closely related. This means they were likely sickened by a common source.
The case-patients, who range in age from 26 to 72, reported onset of illness dates ranging from June 13, 2018, to October 5, 2018. Health officials interviewed three case-patients. Two of them reported eating cake in the week before they became ill, one of them reported eating raw cake batter before becoming ill. But none of them could remember the brand of that cake mix.
After Oregon health officials found Salmonella in the white cake mix, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began an inspection of the manufacturing facility where the cake mix was made. The agency collected environmental and product samples from the facility which is owned by ConAgra Brands. On January 31, 2019, the FDA released a statement saying results of tests on those samples were negative for Salmonella. It is unclear if the partial government shutdown may have affected the release of that information.
UPDATE: This post was updated January 31, 2019, to include the results of the FDA’s inspection of the facility where the cake mix was made.