Check your cupboards for contaminated flour.

June 7, 2016

imageHART — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), and other state and local public health agencies are working to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) infections linked to three brands of flour – Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour, and Signature Kitchens flour produced by General Mills, according to a press release issued by MDHHS.

Nationally, 38 people in 20 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121; these illnesses occurred between late December 2015 and early May 2016. Four cases are adult residents of Michigan in Ingham, Kent, Oakland, and Ottawa counties; two of the four cases were hospitalized.

The company announced a voluntary nationwide recall due to possible E. coli contamination of the three products, May 31. MDARD is conducting recall audit checks at grocery stores, convenience stores, and various other locations to ensure the product is removed from store shelves.

“As consumers, it is important all of us check our cupboards and refrigerators for any contaminated food and dispose of it when there is a food recall. Keeping our food sources safe is a public health priority that requires consumer action,” stated Jennifer Morse, MD, Medical Director, District Health Department #10 in Hart.

The CDC is recommending the following:

– Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not use, serve, or sell the recalled flour products.

– Do not eat or taste raw dough or batter, whether made from recalled flour or any other flour. Flour or other ingredients used to make raw dough or batter might be contaminated.

– Restaurants and retailers should not serve raw dough to customers or allow children or other guests to play with raw dough.

Symptoms of an E coli infection include diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps. Recovery for most people occurs within one week. However, some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is more commonly seen in young children (less than 5 years), older adults, and people who are immune compromised. HUS symptoms can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue, bruising, bleeding from nose and mouth, and decreased urination. People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

The list of recalled products and the manufacturing date range is available on the CDC website.
For updates on the ongoing investigation, visit www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2016/o121-06-16/index.html.

For more information, including a list of the recalled flour products, visit www.generalmills.com/flour or www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2016/o121-06-16/advice-consumers.html.

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