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Former Plant Manager Pleads Guilty Over Cereal Outbreak

Federal officials traced a salmonella outbreak to a Kellogg’s cereal made at the facility.

A former manager at an Illinois food processing plant has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a salmonella outbreak four years ago.

Ravi Kumar Chermala, now 47, oversaw sanitation at several Kerry Inc. plants while serving as the company’s director of quality assurance.

One of those plants produced Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, which was recalled amid a salmonellosis outbreak in the summer of 2018.

Chermala admitted to directing subordinates at the facility in Gridley, Illinois, to alter the site’s program for monitoring pathogens.

He also ordered individuals to withhold details about the plant’s condition from officials at the Kellogg Company for about two years.

Kellogg’s eventually recalled all Honey Smacks produced at the Gridley plant; more than 130 illnesses were traced to the facility.

Chermala pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of causing the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

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