Minneapolis-based food processor General Mills today announced a recall of Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour in connection with an outbreak of 38 Escherichia coli O121 infections in 20 states.
In a press release, the company said E coli O121 has not been found in any of its flour or in the manufacturing facility, nor have consumers reported any confirmed illnesses to the firm, but the recall is being issued out of abundant caution.
The recall involves about 10 million pounds of flour, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported today. General Mills said the products are sold in Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls, and Acme stores.
The illnesses occurred between Dec 21, 2015, and May 3, the company said. "While attempting to track the cause of the illness, CDC [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] found that approximately half of the individuals reported making something homemade with flour at some point prior to becoming ill. Some reported using a General Mills brand of flour," the release adds.
Some of the consumers may have consumed raw dough or batter, the company said. It advised that consumers should not consume any raw foods made with flour, which is ground from wheat, which can carry bacteria.
General Mills said the recall includes six SKUs (stock keeping units or UPC codes) of Gold Medal flour, two SKUs of Signature Kitchens flour, and 1 SKU ofGold Medal Wondra flour. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said most of the flour was made at the company's Kansas City mill.
The company noted that E coli O121—like the more common E coli O157—can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration and is potentially deadly.
May 31 General Mills press release
May 31 Star Tribune story