General Mills recalls some flours after 38 people become sick with E. coli

General Mills today announced it will voluntarily recall various batches of its Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra and Signature flours that federal officials say may be linked to 38 people getting sick in 20 states from a strain of E. coli.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) reported that approximately half of the people who became ill had recently prepared some sort of food at home with flour. General Mills says some of those sickened people may have eaten raw dough or batter.


Here's the official recall notice: "Flour recall: Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour recalled due to possible E. coli O121 contamination"

From the New York Times:

"In general, C.D.C. recommends that people not eat raw dough or batter intended for cooking or baking, and children not be provided raw dough to play with," an agency statement said. "People should use safe food-handling practices when preparing such products, including following package directions for cooking at proper temperatures; washing hands, surfaces and utensils after contact with these types of products; avoiding cross-contamination; and refrigerating products properly."

Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but E. coli O121, the one found in the 38 sick people, is a potentially deadly bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, children and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

General Mills said the pathogen had not been found in any of its flour products or in its flour manufacturing plant. "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," the company said. Its website has information on the flour batches affected by the recall.