Cereal Killer?

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Thought you could get salmonella only from uncooked eggs, meat and fish? Wrong. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Thursday that 188 people were hit by the potentially fatal bacterium in April and May after eating Millville brand Toasted Oats cereal. Of those cases, 40 were serious enough to require hospitalization. No deaths have yet been reported. Not surprisingly, the CDC is recommending you shelve your Millville O's -- not to mention other products from Minneapolis-based generic cereal maker Malt-O-Meal.

Experts stress that the cereal world's Big Four -- Kellogg's, General Mills, Post and Quaker Oats -- are safe. But consumers will no doubt wonder how a simple box of generic Cheerios turned into a bacterial breeding ground -- and whether it could happen again. Public health officials don't have conclusive answers, and can only suggest that a contaminated water pipe or a contaminated factory worker may have been the culprit. Breakfast cereal will never seem harmless again.