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Reported Rashes by North Dakota Daycare Aided Investigation

On October 30, 2013, a daycare in North Dakota reported three reactions of children that experienced a rash covering their bodies roughly 45 minutes after eating lunch. The rash was reported to last for about half an hour. No other symptoms were reported. The suspected food item was rice. The staff indicated that the bag of rice used for the lunch looked discolored compared to other bags of the same kind of rice they had at the daycare. The DoH advised the daycare to discontinue use of the rice and no other complaints were reported by the daycare.

On December 3, 2013, a second state reported 25 children in a school developing a rash within 30 minutes of consuming lunch and the rash was resolved within 90 minutes. The food most likely to have contributed to the rash was determined to be rice. Two staff members who handled or were near the bags of rice also developed a rash.

Because these two states reported similar reactions after consuming the same rice product, the FDA worked with state agricultural and public health departments to conduct testing on the remaining rice in the second state. A market withdrawal was performed by the company and FDA worked with the company to resolve the issue.

This scenario reminds us of the importance of reporting any reactions, from rashes to vomiting and diarrhea, when they occur in two or more people after consuming a similar food item. Having similar reactions reported in two states led public health investigators to believe this was due to a common exposure and not an isolated incident, leading to the product in question to be withdrawn from the market. Reporting incidences such as these helps keep our food safe

To report a foodborne illness or reaction, please call the North Dakota Department of Health at 800.472.2180. To learn more about food safety, visit www.foodsafety.gov.

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