December 11, 2016

FDA Finds E. coli O121 in Bag of Gold Medal Flour

The FDA has released a statement confirming that they found E. coli O121 isolates from an open sample of General Mills flour belonging to a consumer who was sickened with the pathogenic bacteria. The government used whole genome sequencing to analyze the E. coli bacteria. The isolate was closely genetically related to the clinical isolates taken from sick people. The flour came from a lot that General Mills has recalled. At least 38 people in 20 states have been sickened with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121. Ten people have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe. Some of those who got sick had eaten or handled raw dough. The case count by state is: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (2), California (1), Colorado (4), Iowa (1), Illinois (4) Massachusetts (2), … [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...]

Flour and Other Contaminated Foods: Food Defect Action Levels

The recall of Gold Medal flour for possible E. coli O121 contamination and the outbreak that is associated with those products reminded me of my food safety classes at the University of Minnesota. The CDC stated tonight that "collaborative investigative efforts indicate that flour produced at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri is a likely source of this outbreak." While E. coli bacteria in flour may seem unlikely to many, it does happen. And foods do contain "icky" ingredients in addition to bacteria. Most people don't know that there are allowable levels of "unavoidable defects" in food and that the FDA has set these levels to below what would make an average person ill. Those "defects" include the presence of insect filth, maggots, insect eggs, mold, grit, rust, and … [Read more...]

Should You Be Worried About the Gold Medal E. coli Flour Recall?

Whenever a well known product, such as Gold Medal flour, is recalled for possible pathogenic bacteria contamination and is associated with an outbreak, we receive many emails and messages from worried people. While it's true that bacteria are everywhere, discovering that a product you use may contain bacteria that could make you and your family seriously ill is upsetting. Controls are supposed to be in place to make our food supply as safe as it could be, but it is impossible to ensure that every bite we eat is completely safe. Most corporations do follow the law and market safe foods, but there are some that run a sloppy operation and even some company owners who have been negligent about the safety of their products, such as the owners of the Peanut Corporation of America. So … [Read more...]

General Mills E. coli Outbreak Includes Three Minnesota Cases

The General Mills E. coli outbreak includes three illnesses in Minnesota. Two adults and one child were sickened between January and March, according to a Minnesota Department of Health spokesman. All three have recovered. One of the adults became ill in January, the other adult and the child were sickened in March. None of them required hospitalization. The outbreak includes 38 people in 20 states who were sickened by E. coli O121between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016. The Seattle Times reported this morning that two illnesses were reported in Washington state. General Mills has issued a recall for 10 million pounds of flour sold under three brand names: Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature. Consumers who purchase these brands of flour should check recall information carefully as … [Read more...]

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