State and federal authorities have been investigating 38 occurrences of illnesses related to E. coli O121 over the last six months across 20 states.
Around half the affected consumers reported making something with flour at some point before becoming ill, and some reported using a General Mills brand of flour.
General Mills said it was recalling the products – sold under brands including Gold Medal and Wondra – out of “an abundance of caution.”
Flour manufacturing facility
No E. coli O121 had been found in any General Mills flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility, according to the company, which said it has not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to these products.
General Mills added that, based on the information it had been given, some of the ill consumers may have eaten raw dough or batter. In its recall notice, the manufacturer reminded consumers to not eat 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,” it stated.
Collaborating with health officials
General Mills said it was collaborating with health officials to investigate the ongoing E. coli outbreak.
“As a leading provider of flour for 150 years, we felt it was important to recall the product and replace it for consumers if there was any doubt,” said Liz Nordlie, president of General Mills Baking division.
E. coli O121 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, the very young, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
Flour recall: list of affected products
Kellogg's Kashi and Bear Naked brand in sunflower seed recall
Kellogg-owned Kashi Company has become the latest business to recall products as they contain sunflower seeds that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Over the past four weeks, dozens of businesses have recalled products containing sunflower seeds distributed by SunOpta, which also supplied Kashi.
The affected Kashi products are Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars 7.4 oz (UPC 18627 03000 and best before JAN0417, JAN0517, JAN0617, JAN0717, JAN0817, JAN09 17); Bear Naked Soft Baked Granola, Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter 11 oz (UPC 84623 10163 and best before JAN 10 2017 and JAN 11 2017); and Bear Naked Soft Baked Granola , Cinnamon + Sunflower Butter 26 oz (UPC 84623 10173 and best before DEC 24 2016, DEC 25 2016, JAN 11 2017, JAN 12 2017, JAN 13, 2017).