General Mills has issued a nationwide recall over certain five-pound bags of its Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour due to the risk of a potentially deadly form of E. coli, the company and U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced.
The voluntary recall affects bags of the flour with a better if used by date of Sept. 6, 2020, a recall notice on Monday said. The recall was issued out of an "abundance of care" after the bacterium E. coli O26 was found "during sampling.
General Mills estimates the recall covers about 600,000 pounds of flour, according to company spokesman Mike Siemienas.
E. coli O26 can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration and is especially dangerous for young children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems, the USDA notice warns. Symptoms, which may also include stomach cramps and vomiting, usually start about three to four days after swallowing E. coli O26 and can last up to a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
General Mills noted in its announcement that flour is not usually treated to kill bacteria during the milling process and people should never taste uncooked dough or batter made with raw flour.
While heat from baking, fying, sautéing or boiling products made with flour kills E. coli O26, people should also remember to clean all surfaces and utensils that come into contact with raw flour or dough, the FDA and CDC say.
The package UPC for the recalled product is: 016000 196100.
While there haven't been any confirmed cases of people getting sick in this case, at least 21 people in nine states were sickened earlier this year in an E. coli O26 outbreak linked to flour, according to the CDC. At least three of those sickened were hospitalized. Those recalls included Brand Castle Mixes, Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, King Arthur Flour and ALDI Baker’s Corner All Purpose flour. The CDC said in July that outbreak appeared to be over.
Consumers with questions about the latest recall and those who may want a replacement coupon can click here or call 1-800-230-8103.