General Mills Investigates Possible E. coli Contamination in Flour

One of the recalled flour products: Gold Medal All Purpose Flour (5 lb. package). Photo: FDA.

General Mills is investigating an E. coli outbreak that’s taking place across various states. The outbreak of E. coli O121—a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration and diarrhea—may be linked with several flour products.

Between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016 there have been 38 reported illnesses in 20 states connected with E. coli strain O121. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that approximately half of the sick individuals made something with flour before falling ill.

Although E.coli hasn’t been discovered in General Mills flour products, some of the ill individuals reported using General Mills flour brands before getting sick.

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E. coli Contamination in Flour

One of the recalled flour products: Gold Medal All Purpose Flour (5 lb. package). Photo: FDA.

As a safety precaution, the following products have been recalled:

  • Signature Kitchens Unbleached (All Purpose Enriched, 5 lb. package)
    UPC code: 000-21130-53022
  • Gold Medal Wondra Flour (13.5 ounce package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-18980
  • Signature Kitchens All Purpose Flour (Enriched Bleached, 5 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-21130-53001
  • Gold Medal All Purpose Flour: Banded (10 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-10410
  • Gold Medal Unbleached Flour (5 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-19610
  • Gold Medal All Purpose Flour (5 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-10610
  • Gold Medal All Purpose Flour (2 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-10710
  • Gold Medal All Purpose Flour (10 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-10410
  • Gold Medal Self-Rising Flour (2 lb. package).
    UPC code: 000-16000-11710

For the full list of ‘Better if Used by’ dates, please click here.

So far no illnesses have been reported in relation to these products, but some of the ill individuals have reported eating raw batter or dough prior to falling ill. Since flour is derived from milling wheat (grown outdoors), it carries the risk of bacteria—which becomes harmless when baking or cooking.

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Bottom line: You should never eat raw dough and always wash your hands, utensils and cooking surfaces after handling flour or raw dough.

Recall inquiries can be directed to General Mills: 1-800-230-8103.

For more recall information, visit: www.generalmills.com/flour.


Source for Today’s Article:
“Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens Flour Recalled Due to Possible E. coli O121 Contamination,” FDA web site, May 31, 2016; http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm504235.htm.