General Mills Expands Flour Recall as More People Report Illness Linked to E.coli

General Mills flour recall
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General Mills expanded its flour recall under the brands Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens to include those produced in earlier in the fall as more people reported illness linked to E. coli.

According to the company, “a newly-reported illness appears to have stemmed from the consumption of dough or batter linked to flour produced last fall.”

General Mills flour recall

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated four more people have been infected with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC O121) in four states including Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Indiana. The latest reported illness linked to the STEC 0121 came from Indiana on June 8.

42 People infected with Shiga-toxin-producing E.coli 0121

Currently, the total number of people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC 0121 is 42 from 21 states. Eleven have been hospitalized. None of the patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.

According to the CDC, the source of the E.coli outbreak likely came from flour produced at the General Mills facility in Kansas Missouri based on epidemiologic, laboratory, and trace back evidence.

General Mills first announced the recall of around ten million pounds of Gold Medal, Wondra, and Singnature Kitchens flour brands on May 31 due to possible E.coli contamination.

Investigation on General Mills flour is ongoing

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated STEC 0121 from samples of General Mills flour collected from the homes of ill people in Arizona and Oklahoma late last month. In response to the laboratory findings, General Mills decided to expand its recall of flour under the same brands.

According to the CDC, the investigation on General Mills flour is ongoing and it will provide updates to the public when more information becomes available.

 Advice to consumers, restaurants, and retailers

The CDC provides the following advice to consumers, restaurants, and retailers to prevent E.coli contamination

  • Consumers should not use any of the recalled flour and should throw it out.
    • If you stored your flour in another container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or better by date is, throw it out to be safe.
    • Consumers should thoroughly wash the containers before using them again.
  • Eating raw dough can make you sick.
    • Flour or raw eggs used to make raw dough or batter might be contaminated.
    • Bake items made with raw dough or batter before eating them. Follow the recipe or instructions on the package
    • Do not taste raw dough or batter. Even tasting a small amount could make you sick.
  • Clean up thoroughly after baking.
    • Wash any bowls, utensils, and other surfaces that were used when baking with hot water and soap.
    • Wash your hands with water and soap after baking.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw dough.
    • Most people infected with STEC develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps an average of 3-4 days after swallowing the germ.
  • Restaurants and other retailers should not sell or serve any of the recalled flour.
    • If you stored your flour in another container without the packaging and don’t remember what the brand or better by date is, throw it out to be safe
    • Restaurants and retailers should thoroughly wash flour storage containers before using them again.
  • Clean up thoroughly after baking.
    • Wash any bowls, utensils, and other surfaces that were used when baking with hot water and soap.
    • Wash your hands with water and soap after baking.
  • Always practice food safety for raw dough.
    • Do not give customers raw dough to play with or eat. It is not safe to eat or play with raw dough, whether made from recalled flour or any other flour.
    • Bake items made with raw dough or batter before serving or selling them. Follow the recipe or instructions on the package.

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