Approximately 300 tons of Gold Medal flour has been recalled due to the potential for the products to be contaminated with E. coli, a serious and sometimes fatal foodborne infection.
The FDA announced the General Mills Gold Medal Unbleached Flour recall on September 16, after routine testing at the facility discovered the presence of E. coli O26. To date, no E. coli food poisoning illnesses have been reported in relation to the recall.
The recall includes approximately 600,000 pounds of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose 5 LB Flour products marked with UPC code 016000 196100 and have “Better If Used by Date” of September 6, 2020.
The products were manufactured by General Mills of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and were distributed throughout the U.S. to various grocery stores and retailers.
Customers are being asked to check their pantries and dispose of any remaining products. Customers who have discarded the products may contact General Mills Consumer Relations at 1-800-230-8103.
E. coli is a foodborne bacteria that lives in the intestines of people and animals and can become pathogenic causing severe bowel pain and diarrhea when exposed outside of the human intestinal tract. The bacteria are commonly transmitted through contaminated water or uncooked food, or through contact with animals and infected persons.
Typically, E. coli symptoms cause mild to severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps, bloody stools, and sometimes minor fevers lasting between five and 10 days. Individuals such as young children or the sick and elderly may be affected more because of a weakened immune system that if left untreated could develop into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which could lead to kidney failure and even death.
Consumers are being reminded to never consume raw products made with flour, due to the increased risk the products may contain bacteria from being grown outdoors. Raw flour handlers should always fully cook any food items containing raw flour and always remember to wash their hands and clean any work surfaces or utensils thoroughly to prevent further contamination.