A General Mills flour plant in Kansas City, Missouri, has seen 45 million pounds of its flour recalled for containing E. coli. The outbreak has now spread to 21 states, and federal officials have found four more people with E. coli infections caused by the flour. Despite this news, the plant remains open and continues to produce flour.
Thirteen of the 46 E. coli victims have been hospitalized from the outbreak. The recalled flour comes from General Mills’ three main brands of flour: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Wondra. The further recall of flour — 15 million pounds yesterday — was spurred by the Food and Drug Administration’s discovery of a second strain of E. coli in the flour and in hospitalized victims.
General Mills continues to operate its plant because, according to a company spokesperson, it has not found any E. coli in the facility yet. However, the company has elevated cleaning protocols nonetheless.
For consumers, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure you don’t come down with E. coli. Most importantly, per General Mills’ chief operating officer Jeff Harmening, is to avoid uncooked flour. All you bakers, listen up: Don’t lick the bowl!
General Mills asserts that no illnesses have been connected with properly cooked and handled flour, but the FDA is recommending not taking any chances. In a release to the public, it warned, “Consumers unaware of the recall could continue to eat these recalled flours [because of flour’s long shelf life] and potentially get sick. If consumers have any of these recalled flours in their homes, they should throw such flour products away.”
To view the complete list of recalled products, click here.