CDC investigating multistate E. coli outbreak linked to flour

CDC investigating multistate E. coli outbreak linked to flour
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli linked to flour produced at a General Mills processing plant in Kansas City, Mo.

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The CDC said 38 people in 20 states have become infected by a specific strain, known as E. coli 0121, 10 of whom have been hospitalized. So far, no one has developed kidney failure and no deaths have been reported.  

While most strains of E. coli are harmless, E. coli 0121 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration.

On Tuesday, General Mills recalled three brands of flour linked to the outbreak: Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wonder and Signature Kitchens.

The company said some of the people who became ill from Dec. 21, 2015, to May 3 might have consumed raw dough or batter, and the company reminded people not to consumer any raw products made with flour.

“Flour is an ingredient that comes from milling wheat, something grown outdoors that carries with it risks of bacteria, which are rendered harmless by baking, frying or boiling,” the company said in a press release. “Consumers are reminded to wash their hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products or flour, and to never eat raw dough or batter.”

Six stock-keeping units (SKUs), or universal product codes, of Gold Medal flour, two SKU’s of Signature Kitchens flour and one SKU of Gold Medal Wondra flour are part of the voluntary recall. The company said affected flour should be thrown away. A full list of impacted products can be found on the company's website.