Gluten-intolerant Cheerios lovers across the country should think twice before snapping up their favorite breakfast cereal from their local grocery shelves.
The cereal's manufacturer, General Mills, announced in a press release on Oct. 5 that it will recall an estimated 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at its Lodi, California, facility on several dates in July.
The mass recall is due to an incident at the facility which caused wheat flour to be introduced into the system's gluten-free oat-flour system. As a result, some Cheerios products that have been labeled as gluten-free may actually contain wheat, posing a major health hazard to consumers with wheat allergies, celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
"Our Lodi production facility lost rail service for a time and our gluten-free oat flour was being off-loaded from rail cars to trucks for delivery to our facility on the dates in question," Jim Murphy, president of General Mills’s cereal division, said in a blog posted on the company's website, according to USA Today. "In an isolated incident involving purely human error, wheat flour was inadvertently introduced into our gluten-free oat flour system at Lodi." In the same blog, Murphy apologized profusely for the recall.
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The incident affected four days of Cheerios production and 13 days of Honey Nut Cheerios production, USA Today reported. The Minneapolis-based company is warning consumers who have purchased Cheerios products with certain July 2016 use-by dates to ask for a refund or replacement.
Consumers are encouraged to call the General Mills Consumer Services hotline with questions. The company has shared on its website and through social media how concerned customers can identify the products being recalled.