Yesterday, General Mills announced it is recalling 10 million pounds of flour due to concerns over possible E. coli contamination. The outbreak, which is under investigation by both federal and state health officials, has caused 38 cases of illness and 10 hospitalizations across 20 states, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While flour is a common ingredient found in almost every pantry, not all types of flour are being recalled. Wheat flour, the only item in this recall, is the highest consumed type of flour and cereal in the United States.
General Mills says on its website that the cases were reported from December 21, 2015 to May 3, 2016 and prompted the precautionary food recall: "While we have not found any presence of E. coli O121 in any General Mills flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility, and we have not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to these products, we want to take an active part in helping to prevent food borne illnesses."
The recall includes:
- 13.5-ounce Gold Medal Wondra — Package UPC: 000-16000-18980; Better if Used by Dates: 25 February 2017 thru 30 March 2017
- 2-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour — Package UPC: 000-16000-10710; Better if Used by Dates: 25 March 2017 thru 03 June 2017
- 5-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour — Package UPC: 000-16000-10610; Better if Used by Dates: 25 May 2017, 27 May 2017 thru 31 May 2017, 01 June 2017, 03 June 2017 thru 05 June 2017, 11 June 2017 thru 14 June 2017.
- 10-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour — Package UPC: 000-16000-10410; Better if Used by: Dates 02 June 2017, 03 June 2017
- 10-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour Banded Pack — Package UPC: 000-16000-10410; Better if Used by Dates: 03 June 2017, 04 June 2017, 05 June 2017
- 5-pound Gold Medal Unbleached Flour — Package UPC: 000-16000-19610; Better if Used by Dates: 25 May 2017, 27 May 2017, 03 June 2017, 04 June 2017
- 2-pound Gold Medal Self Rising Flour — Package UPC: 000-16000-11710; Better if Used by Date: 23 August 2016
- 5-pound Signature Kitchens All Purpose Flour Enriched Bleached — Package UPC: 000-21130-53001; Better if Used by Date: May 28 2017
- 5-pound Signature Kitchens Unbleached Flour All Purpose Enriched —Package UPC: 000-21130-53022; Better if Used by Date: May 27 2017
What to do to avoid E. coli:
- Check your pantry's flours to make sure they're not on the recall list. If you do have a recalled product, do not use it and contact General Mills.
- Keep up to date on recalls with the FDA's Safety Alerts.
- Always follow standard food safety procedures when cooking.
- While they don't have a recommended internal temperature for baked goods, the CDC recommends not eating any raw dough intended for cooking, including cookie dough.