WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Veggie Booty, a snack particularly popular among small children, may carry Salmonella food poisoning and should be thrown out, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
The FDA said on Thursday at least 52 people in 17 states had become sick after eating the green-colored snack food marketed by Robert's American Gourmet. The New Jersey-based company said it had temporarily stopped making and selling the snack, which contains spinach, kale and other vegetables.
"Almost all the illnesses have occurred in children under 10 years old, with the most cases in toddlers. Most persons had reported bloody diarrhea; four were hospitalized," the FDA said in a statement.
"Veggie Booty is often consumed by children, so parents are encouraged to watch their children, and seek medical care if they observe signs of illness," the FDA added.
It said people who have recently eaten the snack and experienced symptoms should contact a doctor.
Salmonella infection usually causes diarrhea, often bloody, with abdominal cramps and fever. It can be life-threatening in infants, persons with poor underlying health and those with weakened immune systems.
The U.S. Centers for Disease control estimates that about 300,000 Americans each year are hospitalized with food-borne illnesses and 5,000 people die.
Robert's American Gourmet is recalling all potentially contaminated product, which is sold in all 50 states and Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a similar warning.
The company said its other products were safe. It posted a Web site about the recall at http://www.robscape.com/files/veggie-booty-recall.php.
"Due to the serious nature of the health risk, Robert's has decided to temporarily stop the manufacture and sale of Veggie Booty only until test results can positively identify the source," the company said on the Web site.
"We stand by our snacks and hope to resume making Veggie Booty shortly," it said.