Consumers Warned to Avoid Flour Associated with National E. coli Outbreak

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has joined public health officials in other states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate a nationwide outbreak of Escherichia coli O121 (E. coli) associated with certain General Mills flour products. As of May 31, a total of 38 cases in 20 states are linked to this outbreak, including two cases in Oklahoma.

Collaborative investigative efforts of public health and regulatory officials indicate that flour produced at General Mills’ Kansas City, Missouri facility is a likely source of this outbreak. General Mills recalled several different sizes and varieties of Gold Medal flour, Gold Medal Wondra flour, and Signature Kitchen flours due to possible contamination. Consumers should check their pantries for the recalled flour products located on the CDC website at http://go.usa.gov/cSXrd. The recalled products can be identified by the brand, size, better if used by date, and UPC number.
Specific recommendations regarding the recall:

  • Consumers should not use any of the recalled flour and should throw it out.

* If you store your flour in another container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or better by date, throw it out to be safe.
* Consumers should thoroughly wash the containers before using them again.

  • Eating raw dough can make you sick.

* Flour or raw eggs used to make raw dough or batter might be contaminated.
* Bake items made with raw dough or batter before eating them. Follow the recipe or instructions on the package.
* Avoid tasting raw dough or batter. Even tasting a small amount can make you sick.

  • Clean up thoroughly after baking.

* Wash any bowls, utensils, and other surfaces that were used when baking with hot water and soap.
* Wash your hands with water and soap after baking.
Symptoms of the illness include fever, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In young children, persons with underlying medical conditions, or those with weakened immune systems, the disease can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections including hemolytic uremic syndrome. Individuals who have recently handled or consumed products containing raw flour and who have experienced any of these symptoms within two to 10 days should contact their health care provider.
For more information, please visit the OSDH website

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