An outbreak of Salmonella has been linked to raw flour, according to a warning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Health officials have confirmed that 12 people were infected with Salmonella after eating or handling raw flour, but the true number of sick people is likely much higher.
The illnesses were reported as early as December 2022 and continued through February 2023, but more recent illnesses may not have been reported or connected to the outbreak yet.
The illnesses are spread across 11 states. No deaths were reported, but 3 people were hospitalized due to a severe illness.
Investigators said they are still working to identify specific brands of flour that may be linked to these illnesses.
In the meantime, the CDC is reminding people that most flour is raw, which means that it hasn’t been heat-treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning, like Salmonella or E. coli.
“Do not eat raw dough or batter – even a small amount can make you or your child sick,” the CDC warned. “Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay.”
Infections with Salmonella usually cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps about 6 hours to 6 days after a person swallows the bacteria. Most people recover after 4 to 7 days, but children and other high-risk people may develop severe, life-threatening complications.