General Mills has issued a major voluntary recall of all products sold under its Gold Medal Flour label, in order to investigate an ongoing, multi-state outbreak of E. coli. According to the company’s statement, E. coli has not been found in any General Mills flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility to date.
“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, as written on the company’s recall statement.
Of the 38 recorded occurrences under investigation, the CDC found that approximately half of the individuals reported making something homemade with flour at some point prior to becoming ill; some of those ill consumers may have also consumed raw batter or dough, which General Mills does not recommend.
“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,” states the company’s recall.
“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.”
While most strains of E. coli are harmless, E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that has been known to cause dehydration and bloody diarrhea; Seniors, infants, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to forborne illness.
If you are a consumer who is concerned about an illness, or have been diagnosed by a physician as having an illness related to E. coli, General Mills urges you to contact state and local public health authorities.
Read the full General Mills recall statement here for a full list of products affected by the recall.