General Mills Inc. has initiated a recall of all 5-pound bags of its Gold Medal brand unbleached flour with the “better if used by” date of April 20, 2020, after finding Salmonella in a sample.
The iconic company did not indicate how many bags or the total pounds affected by the recall in its Jan. 23 recall notice. General Mills is urging consumers to check their homes for the recalled flour, advising people to dispose of the product if they have it.
The president of the General Mills meals and baking division said in the recall notice that consumers should not consumed flour — or anything containing it, such as cookie dough — that has not been cooked to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria such as Salmonella.
“This recall does not involve any other flour products, and we are continuing to educate consumers that flour is not a ‘ready-to-eat’ ingredient. Anything you make with flour must be cooked or baked before eating,” the General Mills executive Jim Murphy said.
To determine whether they have the recalled flour, consumers and retailers should look for the following label information:
Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose 5LB Flour
Package UPC 000-16000-19610-0
Recalled Better if Used by Date 20APR2020KC
As of the posting of the recall notice, the company had not received any direct consumer reports of confirmed illnesses associated with the recalled flour.
In addition to admonishing consumers about eating raw flour or anything that contains raw flour, the General Mills recall notice advises the public to thoroughly clean all surfaces, hands and utensils after contact with flour or dough. Consumers may contact General Mills consumer relations at 800-230-8103 or visit GeneralMills.com/Flour for more information.
In 2016, General Mills issued a massive 45-ton flour recall because of an E. coli outbreak. At least 63 people were confirmed with infections between December 2015 and early September 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded its investigation into the outbreak at the end of September 2016, but warned more people were likely to be sickened because of the long shelf life of the product and the fact that many consumers already had it in their homes at the point the recall was initiated.
The 2016 recall necessitated dozens and dozens of other recalls of so-called downstream products that had the recalled flour as an ingredient.
Advice for consumers
Food that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria usually does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled flour and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized.
Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.
It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.
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