Food giant General Mills has recently announced a nationwide recall of five-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour over potential E. coli contamination. The company has recently said the bags in questions would have a “better if used by” date of September 6, 2020. And of those bags stamped with this date, only the five-pound measurement is affected; for a rough total of approximately 600,000 pounds of flour. All other types are safe; at least for now.
Fortunately, this recall is precautionary, as no reports of illness have been reported. Specifically, General Mill’s statement says, “The recall is being issued for the potential presence of E. coli O26 which was discovered during sampling of the five-pound bag product. This recall is being issued out of an abundance of care as General Mills has not received any direct consumer reports of confirmed illnesses related to this product.”
Accordingly, General Mills is now asking consumers to check if the flour they have in their pantry is the five-pound bag of Gold Medal Unbleached flour. Of course, anyone who may be in possession of this all purpose flour should dispose of the product and can contact General Mills Consumer Relations for more information. They can be reached at 1.800.230.8103 or www.generalmills.com/flour.
This is not the first time flour has been recalled over concerns of E. coli O26. The CDC has confirmed at least 21 such infections across 9 states through the middle of July. Actually, on July 19, the agency said the outbreak appeared to have ended. The other brands that have been affected by this particular outbreak include Baker’s Corner All Purpos Flour (sold at Aldi stores) and King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, as well some (but no all) bags of Pillsbury Best Bread Flour.
E. coli infection is typically acute, resulting in usually mild-to-moderate symptoms. Symptoms typically occur within three or four days of consuming the bacteria. The United States Centers for Disease Control describes that these symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. If these symptoms become severe—which can take up to seven days—it can eventually end up causing hemolytic uremic syndrome. Fortunately this type of kidney failure is not quite rare.