The FDA, CDC and the 20 state health departments that share the 38 sickened with E. coli – tainted flour remained silent today (perhaps a Memorial Day hangover?), but at least the FDA posted General Mills press release (seriously, why does a government website post this self-serving fluff?), but here it is in full:
General Mills is collaborating with health officials to investigate an ongoing, multistate outbreak of E. coli O121 that may be potentially linked to Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour, and Signature Kitchens flour (sold in Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls, and Acme). Out of an abundance of caution, a voluntary recall is being made. To date, E. coli O121 has not been found in any General Mills flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility and the company has not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to these products.
State and federal authorities have been researching 38 occurrences of illnesses across 20 states related to a specific type of E. coli (E. coli O121), between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016. While attempting to track the cause of the illness, CDC found that approximately half of the individuals reported making something homemade with flour at some point prior to becoming ill. Some reported using a General Mills brand of flour.
Based on the information that has been shared with General Mills, some of the ill consumers may have also consumed raw dough or batter. Consumers are reminded to not consume any raw products made with flour. 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. Consumers are reminded to wash their hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products or flour, and to never eat raw dough or batter.
“As a leading provider of flour for 150 years, 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,” said Liz Nordlie, President of General Mills Baking division.
Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick.E. coli O121 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.
Any consumers concerned about an illness should contact a physician. Anyone diagnosed by a physician as having an illness related to E. coli O121 is also urged to contact state and local public health authorities.
The recall affects the following retail flour products that could be currently in stores or in consumers’ pantries. It includes 6 SKUs (stock keeping units or UPC codes) of Gold Medal Flour, 2 SKU’s of Signature Kitchens Flour and 1 SKU of Gold Medal Wondra flour.
If you have any of the products listed below, they should be thrown away. Consumers with additional questions or requesting a replacement should contact the company at 800-230-8103. Additional recall information can also be found at www.generalmills.com/flour.
The specific products in the recall include:
|13.5 ounce Gold Medal Wondra Flour|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||25FEB2017 thru 30MAR2017|
|2 lb. Gold Medal All Purpose Flour|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||25MAY2017KC thru 03JUN2017KC|
|2lb Gold Medal Self-Rising Flour|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||23AUG2016KC|
|10lb Gold Medal All Purpose Flour|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||02JUN2017KC, 03JUN2017KC|
|5lb Gold Medal All Purpose Flour|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||25MAY2017KC, 27MAY2017KC thru 31MAY2017KC, 01JUN2017KC, 03JUN2017KC thru 05JUN2017KC, 11JUN2017KC thru 14JUN2017KC|
|5lb Gold Medal Unbleached Flour|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||25MAY2017KC, 27MAY2017KC, 03JUN2017KC, 04JUN2017KC|
|10lb Gold Medal All Purpose Flour- Banded Pack|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||03JUN2017KC, 04JUN2017KC, 05JUN2017KC|
|5lb Signature Kitchens All Purpose Flour Enriched Bleached|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||BB MAY 28 2017|
|5lb Signature Kitchens Unbleached Flour All Purpose Enriched|
|Recalled Better if Used by Dates||BB MAY 27 2017|
General Mills should be congratulated for getting this information out to the public on a day that 20 states, the CDC and the FDA seemed blissfully unaware of their surroundings.