Another E. coli O121 outbreak traced to flour, this time Rogers brand, has sickened at least six people in British Columbia where public health officials are urging consumers to check their homes for the implicated flour.
As of Friday evening neither the company, Rogers Foods Ltd. of Armstrong, British Columbia, nor the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had posted a recall of the flour. The six people became sick from February through April.
“A sample of flour from one of the ill people was tested by the (British Columbia Center for Disease Control) BCCDC Public Health Laboratory. The flour was positive for the same strain of E. coli O121 as seen in all the illnesses,” according to the public warning from the BCCDC.
“While it is unknown at this time whether the other ill people consumed the same flour, the BCCDC recommends consumers dispose of Rogers all-purpose flour in a 10 kg bag with the lot number MFD 17 Jan 19 C. This flour was available to Costco customers in BC beginning in January 2017.”
Although this outbreak is occurring at the same time as a national outbreak in Canada involving a different strain of E. coli O121 that has been linked to Robin Hood and other brands of flours and flour products, it is unclear whether there is a link between the two outbreaks.
As of Thursday, the previously announced outbreak had sickened at least 30 people across Canada, according to an update from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The PHAC is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on the outbreak investigation, which has implicated various flour and flour products produced by Ardent Mills.
The CFIA has issued food recall warnings advising Canadians of various flours and flour products under various brand names. These food recall warnings were triggered by CFIA findings during its investigation.
“The outbreak serves as a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough, batter or foods containing raw or undercooked flour — e.g. raw frozen pastries or doughs — regardless of the type of flour used, and that surfaces that come into contact with raw flour should be thoroughly washed as flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria,” according to the public warning from the British Columbia health officials.
“Anyone who becomes ill with vomiting and diarrhea after consuming raw dough, batter or flour products is advised to consult their physician, or call the nurse line at 811.”
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