In 2016 CDC, many states, and the FDA investigated a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections. 63 people infected with the outbreak strains of STEC O121 or STEC O26 were reported from 24 states. 17 ill people were hospitalized. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri was the likely source of this outbreak. Multiple recalls occurred as a result of this investigation.
In 2019 the CDC reported a total of 21 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 were reported from 9 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 11, 2018, to May 21, 2019. Three hospitalizations and no deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence, supported by product distribution records, indicated flour was the likely source of this outbreak. Several products were recalled because they may be contaminated with E. coli. Those products include 5-lb. bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour sold at ALDI, some 5-lb. bags of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, certain 5-lb. bags of Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, and several brands of cookie and brownie mix produced by Brand Castle.