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UPDATED: General Mills pulls Betty Crocker mixes because of E. coli

UPDATED CONTENT July 13: General Mills Inc. updated its recall notice, removing the regular version of its “Betty Crocker Super Moist Rainbow Bit Cake Mix” distributed in the United States. Only the “Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix” and the “Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Carrot Cake Mix” are being recalled in the U.S.

With an international recall of certain flavors of its Betty Crocker branded cake mixes because of possible E. coli contamination, General Mills Inc. is again warning consumers to not ever eat raw batter or dough.

Betty Crocker cake mixes under recall in the U.S.

These are two of the three Betty Crocker cake mixes under recall in the U.S. The third is a “Delights” version of the “Rainbow Bit” mix.

The Monday cake mix recalls in Canada and the U.S. are the latest in a growing list of secondary recalls related to General Mills flour that is linked to an ongoing 21-state E. coli O121 outbreak that has sickened 42 people since December 2015. General Mills owns the Betty Crocker brand and dozens of other consumer product brands.

Minneapolis-based General Mills distributed the recalled flour nationwide to retailers, restaurants and bulk buyers, including other food producers. General Mills has declined to reveal what food producers received bulk shipments. The Food and Drug Administration is restricted from releasing that information because of laws regarding trade secrets.

On June 2 a company spokesman told Food Safety News that General Mills officials “are not aware of it (the recalled flour) being used in any dry mixes.” Since then baking mixes and a variety of other foods — including more than 22 tons of frozen hors d’oeuvres — have been pulled back by manufacturers’ secondary recalls.

General Mills flour is also under recall in China.

One of General Mills’ suppliers recently notified the company that it had used some of the recalled flour to produce flavor bits it sent back to General Mills for certain Betty Crocker cake mixes.

Betty Crocker cake mixes now under recall in the United States and label information that can be used to identify them are:

  • Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix
    Package UPC 000-16000-40997
    Better if Used by Dates 25MAR2017, 28MAR2017, 27APR2017, 28APR2017, 23MAY2017, 24MAY2017, 25MAY2017
  • Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Carrot Cake Mix
    Package UPC 000-16000-40987
    Better if Used by Dates  12APR2017, 13APR2017, 14APR2017, 28MAY2017, 29MAY2017, 30MAY2017, 07JUL2017, 08JUL2017
  • Betty Crocker Super Moist Rainbow Bit Cake Mix
    Package UPC 000-65633-46589
    Better if Used by Dates 27AL2017, 08JN2017, 09JN2017
This product is posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website with the recall notice.

This product is posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website with the recall notice.

In Canada only one variety of Betty Crocker cake mix is under recall, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The recalled Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix Rainbow Bit in 432-gram packages can be identified by specific label information, including:

  • 27AL2017 PV08JN2017 PV
    09JN2017 PV
    UPC 0 65633 46589 3

“If you possess any products included in this recall, they should be thrown away. A full list of retail products included in the flour recall can be found at www.generalmills.com/flour, according to the recall news release on the General Mills website.

“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. Anyone diagnosed by a physician as having an illness related to E. coli O121 is also urged to contact state and local public health authorities.”

Officials in the U.S. and Canada are concerned that consumers may have the recalled products in their homes because of the long shelf life of baking mixes. They warn that food contaminated with E. coli may not look or smell bad.

General Mills initially recalled 10 million pounds of flour, but expanded that to include another 20 million pounds after lab tests linked more of the flour to the outbreak. All of the recalled flour was produced at its Kansas City, Mo, plant from Nov. 4 through Dec. 14, 2015.

Federal investigators have matched the outbreak strain of E. coli from patients’ lab tests to E. coli O121 found in bags of flour collected from consumers’ homes in three states.

The recalled flour from the Kansas City facility is packaged under three brands: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Wondra. Although General Mills also owns the Pillsbury brand and produces flour under that label, it is not included in the recalls.

U.S. consumers with questions or requesting Betty Crocker replacement product should contact General Mills at 800-230-8103. Canadian consumers with questions about the Betty Crocker products including in the recall, or requesting replacement, should contact General Mills Canada at 800-526-4579.

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