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Put down the Slim-Fast can -- regardless of flavor, sell-by date, etc.

December 4, 2009 |  4:32 pm

Bacillus The maker of Slim-Fast has recalled all of its ready-to-drink canned beverages. All of them. Turns out, the stuff might be contaminated with the bacterium Bacillus cereus.

Here's the notice, posted on the Food and Drug Administration's website and the Slim-Fast site.

It contains the usual "discard immediately," "contact the company ... for a full refund" advice. It also includes a list of the specific products being recalled, but there may be no need to check. The notice also says this:

"The recall involves all Slim-Fast RTD products in cans, regardless of flavor, Best-By date, lot code or UPC number."

Don't be too alarmed if you've already consumed such products, especially if it was more than a day ago. Food poisoning with Bacillus cereus hits fast, but is short-lived and relatively mild. For the latter reasons, it usually passes under the radar screen of public health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports only a few cases a year.

Here's what the FDA has to say about Bacillus cereus. And there's this from Todar's Online Textbook of Bacteriology. The operative words in both references are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and vomiting.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: An electron micrograph image of Bacillus cereus.

Credit: Associated Press