October 17, 2017

New E. coli Outbreak in Canada Associated with Flour

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has issued an alert about a new outbreak of E. coli O121 associated with flour. Six people in that province were infected with the same strain of E. coli O121 between February and April, 2017. A sample of flour from one of the ill person’s home was tested by the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory. The flour tested positive for the same strain of E. coli O121 in all the illnesses.

flour

Public health officials do not know if all of the patients consumed the same flour. But the BCCDC is recommending that all consumers throw away Rogers all-purpose flour in a 10 kg bag with lot number MFD 17 JAN 19 C. this flour was sold at Costco in British Columbia beginning January 2017.

This outbreak is happening at the same time as a national outbreak with a different strain of E. coli O121 linked to various Robin Hood flour and flour products. But officials do not know if there is a link between the two outbreaks.

Do not eat raw dough, batter, or foods that contain raw or undercooked flour. Flour is a raw agricultural product and can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. All surfaces that come into contact with raw flour should be thoroughly washed with soap and water.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps that are painful., and diarrhea that is watery and/or bloody. A mild fever may be present. If you have experienced these symptoms and ate raw dough, batter, or flour products, see your doctor as soon as possible.

An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the United States last year was linked to recalled General Mills flours. Secondary recalls of products made with that flour were also issued. Sixty-three people in 24 states were sickened in that outbreak, and seventeen people were hospitalized because their illnesses were so serious.

In the General Mills flour outbreak, lab testing by the FDA found STEC 0121 in open samples of General Mills flour collected from the homes of people in Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma. And in July 2016, lab testing by General Mills and the FDA isolated STEC O26 in a sample of their flour.

 

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