December 4, 2016

After General Mills E. coli Outbreak, Say No to Raw Dough!

The large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour sickened 63 people in 24 states this year. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a complication of that illness. And many of those sickened got sick because they ate raw cookie dough. So the CDC is warning consumers not to eat raw cookie dough, cake mixes, or bread this holiday season, even if you are using pasteurized eggs. Raw flour is a raw agricultural product that has not been treated to kill pathogenic bacteria. And since flour has a long shelf life, that recalled General Mills flour could still be in people's homes. Please check the list of recalled products and make sure you don't have one of those flour types in your pantry. The recall was expanded once, and there have been some … [Read more...]

Rabbit Creek Bread, Brownie and Muffin Mixes Recalled for E. coli

Rabbit Creek Products of Louisburg, KS  has issued a recall for bread, muffin and brownie mixes that may be contaminated with E. coli.  Click the preceding link to see the long list of recalled products. Consumers  who have purchased these products should not use them as E. coli can cause serious illness. The recalled mixes, sold under Rabbit Creek and other brand names, contain flour made by General Mills that has been linked to an E. coli outbreak. Two outbreak strains, E.coli O26 and E. coli O121 have sickened 46 people. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramping and diarrhea that can be bloody. These symptoms usually develop one to three days after exposure and last  about a week. Anyone who has eaten a product containing the recalled flours and develops these … [Read more...]

Five Minnesotans Sickened in General Mills Flour E. coli Outbreak

Five people in Minnesota have been sickened in the E. coli O121 and O26 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour. The outbreak case count now includes 46 people in 21 states. Thirteen of those ill persons have been hospitalized. One person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and no deaths have been reported. Laboratory, traceback, and epidemiologic evidence indicate that flour produced at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri is a "likely source" of this outbreak. Two strains of E. coli bacteria have been found in the flour; E. coli O121 and E. coli O26. General Mills has expanded its recall of flour produced at that mill twice to include more production dates. Please look carefully at the list of recalled products to see if you purchased any. If you … [Read more...]

General Mills Flour Outbreak Now Includes Two Strains of E. coli

The General Mills flour E. coli outbreak now includes two strains of the bacteria: E coli O121 and E. coli O26.  Initially, only one strain, E. coli O121, was linked the outbreak, which now includes 46 cases in 21 states. But, whole genome sequencing  tests performed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified the second strain. Like their better-known relative E.coli O157:H7,  E. coli O26 and E. coli O121 produce shiga toxins that can cause serious illness. In this outbreak, 13 people have been hospitalized and one of them has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, (HUS) a life-threatening complication of E. coli infections that leads to kidney failure. The new finding prompted General Mills to expand its recall of flours possibly contaminated with E. coli. On May 31, … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Details Ways You Can Get E. coli From Flour

Consumer Reports wrote an interesting article about five surprising ways you could get an E. coli infection from flour. With the news that General Mills has expanded their recall of flour associated with a multistate E. coli outbreak, and that the outbreak has grown, this information is valuable. Consumers have been told for years that it is not safe to eat raw cookie dough or raw cake batter. But did you know that the risk factor in those products isn't just the raw eggs? Raw flour is an agricultural product that should be cooked before you eat it. It can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria just like raw meats or raw fruits or vegetables. But did you know that modeling clay and play dough, ornaments made with flour, and paper mâché are also risky? There are many recipes in … [Read more...]

General Mills Expands Recall of Flour Linked to E. coli Outbreak

General Mills of Minneapolis, MN has expanded a recall of flour associated with a multistate E. coli outbreak that now includes 42 cases in 21 states. The expansion of the recall was triggered after a newly-reported illness was associated with  raw dough or batter linked to flour produced last fall. Health officials from the FDA and the CDC warn consumers not to eat raw products containing flour as pathogens such as E. coli O121 are only eliminated by heat through baking, frying, sautéing or boiling foods to their proper temperatures. After handling raw products containing dough, people should wash hands, surfaces and utensils thoroughly. The recall expansion includes a 8 SKUs (stock keeping units or UPC codes) of Gold Medal Flour, 1 SKU of Signature Kitchens Flour and 1 SKU of Gold … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak Shows Dough for Play Isn’t Kid Friendly

Crayons and placemat games are familiar "kid friendly" activities restaurants provide to help young diners pass the time while waiting for dinner. Some also provide little ones with a ball of pizza dough to play with, a practice they may rethink in the wake of an E. coli outbreak linked to flour. The 20-state outbreak linked to General Mills flours sickened 38 people between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016. Three of the case patients, who range in age from 1 to 95, reported eating or playing with raw dough at restaurants before they became ill. (Nine others reported tasting raw dough or batter prepared at home.) The outbreak illustrates that raw eggs are not the only ingredient in dough that poses danger. E. coli can cause serious illness and death. Children under five are among … [Read more...]

General Mills Flour E. coli Outbreak Strikes 4 in Illinois

The E.coli outbreak linked to flours produced by General Mills has sickened four people in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The four individuals, who live in Chicago and Brown, suburban-Cook, and McHenry counties, are among the 38 people in 20 states who are part of the outbreak who developed E. coli infections after preparing, eating or handling food, dough or batter made with the contaminated flour. The outbreak, which hospitalized 10 people, triggered a 10 million-pound recall of flours sold under the brand names Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour. Consumers who have purchased these products should not use them as  E.coli can cause serious illness and death. Symptoms of an E. coli infection usually develop … [Read more...]

CDC: Flour From General Mills KC Plant is Likely E. coli Outbreak Source

Flour produced at a General Mills plant in Kansas City, Mo.  is the likely source of a 20-state E. coli O121 outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak, which hospitalized 10 people, triggered a 10 million-pound recall. The recalled flours were sold under the brand names Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour. Consumers who have purchased these products should not use them as E. coli can cause serious illness and death. E. coli symptoms usually develop between two and five days of exposure but can appear within 24 hours or take as long as 10 days to develop.  They include stomach cramps and diarrhea, that is sometimes bloody. Sometimes these symptoms, which last about a week, are accompanied by a … [Read more...]

Raw Flour Can Be a Health Hazard Just Like Raw Meat

Most people don't know that raw flour can be a health hazard just like raw meat. In 2009, a multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to raw Nestle cookie dough sickened at least 77 people in 30 states. Since pasteurized eggs were used to make that product, the flour was singled out as a possible culprit after months of investigation. The other ingredients used to make the cookie dough, including molasses, sugar, baking soda, chocolate, vanilla, and margarine, underwent pathogen kill steps during processing and were considered less likely sources of contamination in a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2011. Investigators never found E. coli bacteria at the plant that produced the cookie dough, or at the flour mills that supplied the flour for the product. No conclusive … [Read more...]

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