More than 20,000 pounds of Pillsbury bread flour has been recalled in association with an ongoing E.coli outbreak, which has sickened at least 17 people across eight states, resulting in three hospitalizations.
The Pillsbury Best Bread Flour recall was announced by the FDA on June 14, after investigators determined that certain contaminated ingredients which caused a multi-state E. coli poisoning outbreak were also used in two lots of Pillsbury flour products. To date, no illnesses or injuries have been reported in relation with the recall.
The recall includes approximately 4,620 cases of Pillsbury Best bread flour packaged in 5 lb bags. The recalled products are marked with Lot Code 8 342 with Use-By date of June 8, 2020 and Lot Code 8 343 with Use-By date June 9, 2019.
The products were manufactured by ADM Milling Company at the company’s Buffalo, New York plant. They were distributed for sale to various grocers and retailers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Customers are being asked to stop using the recalled lots of Pillsbury bread flour and to either discard them or return the bags to their place of purchase for a full refund.
The recall was prompted by an ongoing FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) E. coli investigation, which discovered the same wheat products used to make the two recalled lots of Pillsbury flour were also found to be the source of contamination in previous flour recalls. To date, CDC officials are aware of 17 consumers in eight states that have fallen ill with a similar strain of E. coli.
Officials previously issued two other flour recalls found to be linked to the E. coli outbreak. The first ALDI flour recall was issued on May 23, 2019, affecting all of the Baker’s Corner All-Purpose Flour products shipped to eleven states in the Northeastern United States. The second recall was issued on June 13, affecting approximately 14,218 cases of unbleached all-purpose flour distributed under the brand name King Arthur Flour Inc.
E. coli is a foodborne bacteria which 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.