General Mills has recalled 10 million pounds of flour after 38 people in 20 states were sickened with E. coli.
The brands include Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour (sold at Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls, and Acme). Click here for a list of recalled products.
Health officials said about half of the people who got sick reported using flour to make something homemade. However, General Mills said E. coli has not been found in products or facilities.
Consumers should return the recalled flour to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.
The illnesses were caused by E. coli O121, a strain that produces Shiga toxin and causes severe diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramps, vomiting, and fever for about a week.
In about 5-10% of cases, patients are hospitalized with a type of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). It is more likely in children under the age of 5, older adults, and people with underlying medical problems.
E. coli is killed by baking, boiling, and frying. It spreads in fecal matter, often when dirty water is sprayed on food. Flour comes from wheat, which is grown outdoors where bacteria are often present.
Health experts warn against eating raw dough, batter, or flour. You should also wash your hands thoroughly and avoid cross-contamination on dirty utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen counters.
Source: General Mills