Health Care

General Mills expands flour recall after outbreak of E. coli

General Mills expands flour recall after outbreak of E. coli

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, that could be a problem.

The FDA has issued a warning against eating raw cookie dough.

US health officials have recently launched an investigation into infections linked to the ingestion of raw dough.

The culprit this time: raw flour.

The company is working with health officials to investigate a multistate outbreak of E. coli that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said likely started at the company's Kansas City, Mo., plant. Dozens of people throughout the country have been infected by a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121.

The recall is being expanded after a newly-reported illness that appears to have been caused when some ate raw dough or batter linked to flour produced last fall.

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On May 31, the Golden Valley-based food company voluntarily recalled Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour, and Signature Kitchens flour made at a Kansas City facility between November 12 and December 4. It said the E. coli O121 strain is killed with heat through baking, frying or boiling products made with flour. The FDA is advising people to get rid of the flour that may be sitting on your shelves, even though flour is known to have a long shelf life.

- Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough until they are baked.

"Consumers should not use any of the recalled flour and should throw it out", the CDC cautioned. At least 12 people have recently gotten sick from E. coli hiding in raw cookie dough, specifically the brands made by General Mills.

Flour that has been exposed to manure or other animal waste could become tainted prior to harvest and milling. But with raw dough, no kill step has been used. Luckily, cookie dough ice cream is still safe (if you need a fix in the interim). If you love that flavor, just buy it in the store, where manufacturers have treated the flour and pasteurized the eggs.

Symptoms of this strain of E. coli include bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

No one has had problems with kidney failure, as can happen with these cases, nor has anyone died. HUS can occur in people of any age, but is most common in young children under 5 years, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.


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