Bamba not related to mysterious deaths of toddlers

Over the last few weeks, four toddlers have gotten ill and died suddenly of mysterious causes. Two children remain hospitalized; one is recovering and one is still in intensive care. The Health Ministry debated over whether to announce that they are investigating the deaths as they didn’t want to induce panic. But if word got out about the investigation, the ministry would be accused of withholding information. They are awaiting final lab results but so far there no connection has been found among the children, who came from different parts of the country and had different symptoms. It seems to be a statistical anomaly, and at least one of the children had previous health problems.

Earlier this week an email rumor began circulating claiming that the deaths were related to contaminated Bamba, the heavily marketed children’s snack food. One email forwarded to me this morning was about an uncle working in Superpharm who received a call asking him to take Bamba off the store’s shelves.

Manufacturer Osem’s stock dropped six percent in the stock market as a result of this rumor. My readers know that I am no fan of Bamba. But as a pediatrician friend pointed out, if even one batch of Bamba caused illness Israeli hospitals would be full to capacity with sick children. Negative health effects of Bamba, Bisli, Crembos and other snacks marketed to children are only incremental.

Jameel also wrote about this story.


  1. I was sitting in the doctor’s office yesterday, reading one of those slick magazines. There was a vote on whether junk food should be allowed as a prize. Only one mother objected. The teacher said, oh, as long as they are eating healthy food otherwise. Yuck.
    I have a hard time getting my daughter to eat anything nutritious, at home or at school. And she is at school a large part of the day. Recently, she’s been begging me to buy her the deli hot lunch (I don’t tell my kids it’s on the menu, but they see other kids, they know).
    It’s hard to get kids to eat healthy even when you try, so I can’t imagine what the immune system of kids are when the parents make no effort.

  2. I wrote about this last night — but thanks for the link.
    Will give you a link back as well…

  3. If only this scare would get people to consider the packaged foods they feed themselves and their children.
    That said, I will admit to giving my girls the strawberry Bamba on our last day in Israel. It was a treat in place of the Milky that they hated. But my girls are big veggie eaters normally.

  4. I want to tell you that Bamba is considered a healthy food here to the extent that the nurse in the Tipat Halav clinic, told me at a certain age (maybe 8 months) that the baby should eat Bamba! (it was considered a finger food).
    This was some years ago. I do not think they would do it now as it is based on peanuts which you are not supposed to give before the age of one year (because it is allergenic)

  5. Tired of Arguing says

    I love Bamba. It’s one snack food that does not tempt me in the least.