General Mills recalled four of its Gold Medal all-purpose flour varieties after investigators identified the flour as a source of a salmonella outbreak.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 13 people were infected in 12 different states. Three of the infected have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
The CDC believes the true number of illnesses is likely higher because some people who recover without medical care never get tested for salmonella and because it usually takes weeks to link illnesses with an outbreak.
General Mills announced the recall of the bleached and unbleached products with a “better if used by” date of March 27,2024 and March 28, 2024. The recall includes 2-, 5- and 10- pound bags of its Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.
“We are continuing to educate consumers that flour is not a ‘ready to eat’ ingredient. Anything made from flour must be cooked or baked before eating,” spokesperson of General Mills, Mollie Wulff said in a statement last week.
The CDC says that most flour is raw and has not been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning. Salmonella bacteria dies when it is cooked or baked, but it is possible to get sick when eating or tasting food that includes raw flour, CNN reports. Raw dough used for crafts and play dough also pose a risk
Salmonella causes fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea within six hours to six days of consuming the bacteria. Most people will recover without treatment, but those with weakened immune systems may develop severe illness.
The best way to avoid illness is to thoroughly wash hands, bowls, utensils, and surfaces after using raw flour, according to the CDC. If making play dough, use heat-treated flour.
The CDC recommends that customers with the recalled flour should return it or throw it away and wash any surfaces that may have come into contact with it. Customers who throw away the product may contact General Mills Consumer Relations at 1-800-230-8103.