The CDC reports that as of July 25, 2016, 46 people infected with the outbreak strains of STEC O121 (45 people) or STEC O26 (1 person) have been reported from 21 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 21, 2015 to June 25, 2016. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 95, with a median age of 18. Eighty percent of ill people are female. Thirteen ill people have been hospitalized. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
In July 2016, laboratory testing by General Mills and FDA isolated STEC O26 from a sample of General Mills flour. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the STEC O26 isolated from the flour sample was closely related genetically to isolates from an ill person. The flour tested was not included in the earlier General Mills recalls.
On July 25, 2016, General Mills expanded its recall to include more production dates. CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and retailers do not use, serve, or sell the recalled flours.
Prior Recalls and Test Results:
In June 2016, laboratory testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated STEC O121 from samples of General Mills flour collected from the home of an ill person in Oklahoma. The STEC O121 isolated from the flour sample has the same PFGE pattern, or DNA fingerprint, as the outbreak strain. The flour collected in Oklahoma was not included in the initial General Mills recall
In the same month, FDA identified STEC O121 in an open sample of General Mills flour collected from the homes of ill people in Colorado and Arizona. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the STEC O121 isolates from the flour samples were closely related genetically to the STEC O121 isolates from ill people. The flour sample that was tested came from lots of flour included in the initial recall announced by General Mills.
On July 1, 2016, General Mills expanded the recall to include some flours sold under the same brand names included in the initial recall: Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour. CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and retailers do not use, serve, or sell the recalled flours.
On May 31, 2016, General Mills recalled several sizes and varieties of Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour due to possible E. coli contamination. The recalled flours were produced in the Kansas City facility during a time frame identified by traceback and sold nationwide.