Fans of the manufacturer General Mills may remember that the company issued a major voluntary recall of all products sold under its Gold Medal Flour label earlier this year, in order to investigate an ongoing, multi-state outbreak of E. coli.
Now, due to four new confirmed illnesses, General Mills is adding additional flour production dates to the previous U.S. retail flour recall.
Initially, the recall included certain sizes of Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens brand flour that had been produced between Nov. 4, 2015 and Dec. 4, 2015. The updated recall has extended the affected production dates through Feb. 10, 2016.
The illnesses that were reported to health officials show a correlation with consumers who have reported to have consumed or handles uncooked dough and/or uncooked batter made with raw flour. Just as before, no illnesses have been connected with flour that has been properly cooked, baked or handled.
“At this time, it is unknown if we are experiencing a higher prevalence of E. coli in flour than normal, if this is an issue isolated to General Mills’ flour, or if this is an issue across the flour industry,” the company wrote in the press release.
“As a leader in flour production for 150 years, General Mills is committed to convening experts to work with government officials to learn more and create new protocols, if needed,” said General Mills President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening. “Most importantly, we want all the avid home bakers out there to have peace of mind and know the most important thing they can do to keep safe is to not eat uncooked flour.”
Just as before, the company reminds consumers that flour is a raw ingredient, and is intended to be cooked or baked; because it is made from wheat and grown outdoors, the bacteria present in its growing conditions is not necessarily removed during the normal flour milling process.