General Mills Flour Recall Expanded Again After Four New Food Poisoning Reports

Following several new reports of E. coli food poisoning linked to contaminated flour products, General Mills has expanded an already massive recall, identifying additional flour that may be unsafe and pose a serious health risk for consumers. 

The FDA announced the latest General Mills flour recall expansion on July 25, following at least four new reported illnesses. The most recent recall marks the third expansion, widening the production date range by over 2 months’ time.

The original recall was first announced on May 31, impacting roughly 10 million pounds of flour sold under the Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and other brand names, after a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O121 food poisoning sickened at least 38 individuals in 20 different states.

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To date, the newly adjusted number of reported sicknesses has increased to at least 46 consumers across 21 states, resulting in 13 hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported to date.

Upon the initial recall, the FDA began performing trace-back investigations by collecting E. coli samples from sickened patients to match them to contaminated samples pulled from General Mills flour products. The FDA’s investigation has identified several sub-types of E. coli from the samples of General Mills flour products that matched the sickened patient’s samples.

Following the 10 million pounds of General Mills flour originally recalled, the FDA expanded the recall on July 1, following additional illness reports. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), newly diagnosed patients reported consuming flour products outside of the original recall production range.

Following further investigation, the FDA announced the second expansion of the recall on July 11, to include certain Betty Crocker Delights cake mixes that were processed with Wondra flour linked to the recall announced on July 1.

General Mills, FDA and the CDC have collaborated to expand the potentially contaminated products production dates from November 4, 2015 through December 4, 2015 to now any listed product with a production date up until February 10, 2016.

Consumers are being encouraged to visit General Mills website at www.generalmills.com/flour for a full list of the recalled products and production dates, as well as corresponding UPC code.

E. coli O121 can cause serious and sometimes fatal illnesses, especially among children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. E. coli infections may also cause pregnancy complications for women.

Although most E. coli bacteria cause mild bowel irritation and flu-like symptoms, some forms, including E. coli O121, can be extremely harmful and cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration that can be extremely harmful to those with weakened immune systems. In severe cases, when E. coli O121 is left untreated, it can result in hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure for all age ranges infected.

Customers are being urged to never consumer raw flour products as they are grown outside and naturally susceptible to bacterium that unless cooked, could cause sickness if ingested. Customers with further questions or concerns are being asked to contact General Mills at 1-800-230-8103.

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