UPDATE: Manager Says Tainted Rosca de Reyes Bread Not Sold At Bodega Ranch Market

JANUARY 14 2:13PM  |  A manager at Bodega Ranch Market in Long Beach said none of the tainted Rosca de Reyes bread was sold at the market, despite it being distributed to the location by Santa Ana-based Cholula’s Bakery.

“No, we didn’t sell it because when we got it, it was too expensive, so we sent it back,” said Bodega Ranch Market manager Omar Saad.

JANUARY 14 11:53AM  |  A sample of the tainted Rosca de Reyes bread that has now reportedly made more than 40 people fall ill was found to be contaminated with a “substantial” amount of a synthetic cannabinoid, an artificial THC with intensified effects, said Pharmacologist Neil Spingarn, the President of Santa Ana-based S&N Laboratories.

The bread was distributed from Santa Ana-based Cholula’s Bakery to 10 area markets, including La Bodega Ranch Market in Long Beach. Long Beach health officials said earlier this week that no illnesses have been reported in Long Beach so far as a result of the tainted bread.

“The levels in the cake are not small,” Spingarn told the Orange County Register, which obtained a sample of the bread from a Santa Ana woman who said it made her ill last week. The Register hired S&N Labs, which is licensed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, to test the sample. 

“What is most striking is that this was not inadvertent,” Spingarn said.

Anyone who believes they consumed the tainted bread is urged to call Santa Ana police Crimes Against Persons Unit at 714-245-8390.

JANUARY 12  10:02AM  | City spokesman Edward Kamlan has confirmed there have been no cases of illnesses in Long Beach from tainted “Rosca de Reyes” bread which was distributed by a Santa Ana Bakery to local markets, including one in Long Beach.

The bread was confirmed to have been tainted with a synthetic drug, officials announced last week.

It is unknown if the bread was actually sold at La Bodega Ranch Market or if it was just distributed there from Cholula’s Bakery in Santa Ana.

A representative from La Bodega Ranch Market could not be reached for comment Monday.

JANUARY 10 11:11AM  |  A synthetic drug was found in “Rosca de Reyes” bread which was distributed by a Santa Ana Bakery to local markets, including one in Long Beach. A criminal investigation is underway.

The Orange County Health Care Agency announced Friday that preliminary tests on product samples from Cholula’s Bakery “indicated the presence of a synthetic drug.” They said Santa Ana police have begun investigating, and confirmatory test results are expected in one to two weeks.

Cholula’s Bakery will remain closed as it undergoes professional restaurant-grade cleaning, all opened food and ingredients used to make the bread are disposed of and all staff receive mandatory food safety training, the OC Health Care Agency reported.

The tainted bread was sold at 10 local markets, including La Bodega Ranch Market in Long Beach.

More than 30 people have been reported ill after eating the bread.

JANUARY 7 4:48PM  |  More than 30 people who ate “Rosca de Reyes” distributed by a Santa Ana bakery to markets—including one in Long Beach—have fallen ill, public health officials announced today.

“Rosca de Reyes,” “King’s cake” or “Epiphany bread” is a ring-shaped fruit cake traditionally eaten on January 6, also known as Three Kings Day or the Epiphany.

Cholula’s Bakery in Santa Ana distributed the cakes to 10 stores in the area, including La Bodega Ranch Market, located at 4945 Long Beach Boulevard.

Santa Ana police were informed Wednesday night that multiple patients at Western Medical Center in Anaheim and St. Joseph Hospital in Orange were complaining of stomach pain. Each of those patients had eaten “Rosca de Reyes,” which the Health Care Agency warned retailers and consumers today to throw away if it was from Cholula’s.

Cholula’s Bakery was temporarily closed while investigators with the Orange County Health Care Agency tried to isolate the cause of the illnesses.

City News Service and Priscella Vega contributed to this report.

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.