Fear of E. Coli Contamination Forces Recall of Several Brands of Flour, 17 People Infected in the Outbreak

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
June 17, 2019 Updated: June 17, 2019

Several brands of flour have been recalled from the market due to fear of E. Coli contamination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17 people have been infected with the strain of E. coli O26 in eight states from Dec. 2018 until April 2019. Several Products have been recalled while the investigation is on.

“Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates flour is a likely source of this outbreak,” said CDC.

The CDC said in a food safety alert on its website on June 15 that two lots of Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, three lots of King Arthur Flour, and all 5-lb. bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour have been recalled. Authorities have requested that customers not use these products.

“Consumers should not use any of the recalled flour. Throw it out. If you stored flour in another container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or “use by” date, throw it away. Thoroughly wash the container before using it again,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Stock image of wheat flour. (Kaboompics/Pixabay)

A company announcement posted as public service on the Food and Drug Administration website said that two specific lot codes of its Pillsbury Best 5 lb, manufactured by ADM Milling Co., at the company’s mill in Buffalo, New York, have been voluntarily recalled.

“Approximately 4,620 cases of impacted Pillsbury® Best 5 lb. Bread Flour were distributed to a limited number of retailers and distributors across the following 10 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia,” said the company announcement by Hometown Food Company.

CDC said that consumers can identify recalled flour by the lot codes and use-by dates. It advised people not to eat raw flour as it can make them sick and to clean up bowls, utensils, and other surfaces with warm water and soap after baking.

“Bake or cook food made with raw dough or batter before eating it. Follow the recipe or instructions on the package. Do not use recalled flour in cooking or baking. Do not taste raw dough or batter. Even tasting a small amount could make you sick,” said CDC.

Infections and Symptoms of E. Coli

The company release on FDA’s website says that the infections by E.Coli vary from person to person but symptoms generally include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. People usually get sick and show symptoms three to four days after ingesting the infected product and most recover within a week’s time.

“In some cases, individuals may develop a serious illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS, which can result in kidney failure, stroke, and even death). Young children, elderly individuals, pregnant women and those who are immunocompromised are more susceptible to foodborne illness,” said the company release.

Stock image of a person with abdominal pain. (Derneuemann /Pixabay)

CDC said E.Coli infections are usually diagnosed by testing a stool sample. “Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine,” said CDC in a post on symptoms of E.Coli.

In its investigation details, CDC said that it interviewed seven people suffering from the infection and out of these “four (57%) reported eating, licking, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter.”

The CDC also advised restaurants and other retailers to not give customers raw flour to eat or play with.

“Do not give customers raw dough to play with or eat. It is not safe to eat or play with raw dough, whether made from recalled flour or any other flour.

“Bake or cook food made with raw dough or batter before serving or selling it. Follow the recipe or instructions on the package. Do not use recalled flour in cooking or baking,” CDC said in its message to restaurants and retailers.

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