General Mills recalls flour products for possible E. coli contamination
General Mills is voluntarily recalling certain flour products due to a possible link to a multistate E.coli 0121 outbreak, according to a Department of Defense All Food and Drug Activity message sent June 1.
While investigating 38 occurrences of illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that almost half of the individuals reported using flour prior to getting sick. Some reported using a General Mills brand.
General Mills has found no evidence of E. coli 0121 in any of its flour products or in the manufacturing facility and has received no reports of illness from consumers relating to its flour products. However, out of an abundance of caution, General Mills elected to initiate a recall and to take the opportunity to remind consumers how to safely handle flour.
The Defense Commissary Agency has publicized this withdrawal notice to all its stores, said Richard Stith, the lead consumer safety officer for DeCA headquarters at Fort Lee, Virginia. Whenever a commissary has a withdrawn product in its inventory, the product is immediately removed from store shelves.
"We have learned that the commissary carries some of the products listed in the withdrawal," Stith said. "The stores are currently pulling those items from the shelves." DeCA food safety officials are monitoring this recall for any updates.
The following products are being recalled:
- Gold Medal All Purpose Flour 2 pounds: UPC 000-16000-10710, "better if used by dates" of May 25, 2017 through June 3, 2017
- Gold Medal All Purpose Flour 5 pounds: UPC 000-16000-10610, "better if used by dates" of May 25, 2017; May 27, 2017 through May 31, 2017; June 1, 2017; June 3, 2017 through June 5, 2017 and June 11, 2017 through June 14, 2017
- Gold Medal All Purpose Flour 10 pounds: UPC 000-16000-10410, "better if used by dates" of June 2, 2017 and June 3, 2017
- Gold Medal Unbleached Flour 5 pounds: UPC 000-16000-19610, "better if used by dates" of May 25, 2017; May 27, 2017; June 3, 2017 and June 4, 2017
Customers should return this product to the commissary of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers should 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 should wash their hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products or flour, and should never eat raw dough or batter.
Infection with E. coli can result in dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called HUS, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
HUS can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5 and older adults. Symptoms of HUS may include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, decreased urination, and swelling.
Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.
For additional information and a full list of products affected by this recall please visit the Food and Drug Administration's page on this recall.
Consumers with questions on the recall may contact the General Mills at (800) 230-8103.