General Mills has issued a recall for approximately 10 million pounds of flour because of a possible E. coli contamination that may be linked with an outbreak of illnesses across 20 states.
The company says it is collaborating with health officials to investigate the potential outbreak. The recall includes multiple varieties of Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens flour products. General Mills says E. coli has not been found in the product or the flour manufacturing facility. Additionally, the company has not been directly contacted by a consumer reporting a confirmed illness, but the recall was initiated out of an “abundance of caution.”
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 Dec. 21, 2015, and May 3. While attempting to track the cause of the illness, CDC found that approximately half of the individuals reported making something homemade with flour prior to becoming ill. Some reported using a General Mills brand of flour. Some of the ill consumers may have also consumed raw dough or batter.
The company reminds consumers 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,” says Liz Nordlie, president of General Mills Baking division.