General Mills (NYSE:GE) recalled around ten million pounds of flour following reports from consumers that they got sick after using the baking product over the past five months.
The company said its flour sold under the brand names Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens are included in the recall.
According to General Mills, there are 38 incidents of illness across 20 states related to E. coli 0121 between December 21 2015 and May 3, 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that approximately 50% of the 38 individuals reported making something homemade with flour at some point prior to getting sick. Some of them reported using the company flour brand.
The E coli 0121 strain is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, the very young, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
General Mills didn’t found e.coli at manufacturing facility, flour products
In a statement, Liza Nordlie, president of baking division at General Mills said, “We felt it was important to not only recall the product and replace it for consumers if there was any doubt, but also to take this opportunity to remind our consumers how to safely handle flour.”
General Mills didn’t find any e coli strain at its flour manufacturing plants or in any of its flour products. Consumers who reported getting ill did not contact the company directly.
Never eat raw dough or batter
The company added that some of the consumers who got sick also reported that they may have consumed raw dough or batter.
General Mills said consumers should not consume any raw products made with flour and wash their hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after handling raw dough products or flour. The company said, “Never eat raw dough or batter.”
“Flour is an ingredient that comes from milling wheat, something grown outdoors that carries with it risks of bacteria which are rendered harmless by baking, frying or boiling,” explained General Mills.