General Mills expands flour recall yet again following four reported illnesses

Jul 27, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. ET
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UPDATE July 27, 2016: The Great General Mills Flour Recall of 2016 has expanded yet again, this time following four E. coli illnesses linked to the outbreak. The previous recall included production dates from Nov. 4, 2015 through Dec. 4, 2015. The expansion now extends that production date to Feb. 10, 2016. See General Mills' announcement for a full list of affected products.

UPDATE July 2, 2016: This recall has expanded. Following reports of new illnesses General Mills has expanded its recall of Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Mills brand flours. The expansion now includes flours manufactured earlier this fall -- flours that are very likely to be in consumers pantries. Illnesses appear to have resulted from eating raw cookie dough. See the FDA's announcement for full details. Or, just clean out all the flour from your pantry (if you haven't already) and swear off eating raw cookie dough.

More: FDA says stop eating raw cookie dough, but not for the reason you'd think

It is with immense displeasure that we inform you of yet another gigantic recall: General Mills is recalling about 10 million pounds of flour in 20 states due to a possible E. coli outbreak. And if there's anything I've learned in my years of covering food recalls, it's that this is probably just the beginning of the story. This recall might very well be expanded soon. There goes my freezer stash of ready-to-be-baked cookies (#SadFace).

More: 7 tips for buying safer food in a recall-mad world

The recall includes several varieties of General Mills flour being sold under different brands. The flour has been potentially linked to an E. coli outbreak that's spread to several states and affected 38 people.

While E. coli hasn't actually been found in any of the recalled products during routine testing, about half of the 38 people who were infected with E. coli between December 2015 and May 3 of this year had consumed flour, including General Mills flour. Because they haven't been able to rule out the source of the outbreak, General Mills is voluntarily recalling its products. It's a pain, yes, but it's definitely good that the company is erring to the side of caution, especially since this particular strain of E. coli can cause bloody stool and diarrhea.

Definitely don't eat any raw cookie dough anytime soon.

More: Tips to avoid contaminated fruits, vegetables and meats

These are the recalled products, including six SKUs of Gold Medal brand flour, 2 SKUs of Signature Kitchens brand flour and 1 SKU of Gold Medal Wondra brand flour, sold at major grocery store chains across the country.

  • 13.5-ounce Gold Medal Wondra; package UPC 000-16000-18980; recalled better-if-used-by dates 25FEB2017 through 30MAR2017
  • 2-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour; package UPC 000-16000-10710; recalled better-if-used-by dates 25MAY2017KC through 03JUN2017KC
  • 5-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour; package UPC 000-16000-10610; recalled better-if-used-by dates 25MAY2017KC, 27MAY2017KC through 31MAY2017KC, 01JUN2017KC, 03JUN2017KC through 05JUN2017KC, 11JUN2017KC through 14JUN2017KC
  • 10-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour; package UPC 000-16000-10410; recalled better-if-used-by dates 02JUN2017KC, 03JUN2017KC
  • 10-pound Gold Medal All Purpose Flour, banded pack; package UPC 000-16000-10410; recalled better-if-used-by dates 03JUN2017KC, 04JUN2017KC, 05JUN2017KC
  • 5-pound Gold Medal Unbleached Flour; package UPC 000-16000-19610; recalled better-if-used-by dates 25MAY2017KC, 27MAY2017KC, 03JUN2017KC, 04JUN2017KC
  • 5-pound Signature Kitchens All Purpose Flour Enriched Bleached; package UPC 000-21130-53001; recalled better-if-used-by date BB MAY 28 2017
  • 5-pound Signature Kitchens Unbleached Flour All Purpose Enriched; package UPC 000-21130-53022; recalled better-if-used-by date BB MAY 27 2017
  • 2-pound Gold Medal Self-rising Flour; package UPC 000-16000-11710; recalled better-if-used-by date 23AUG2016KC

If you have any of the recalled products, they should be discarded, and any surfaces that have come in contact with the product should be disinfected.

You can call General Mills at 1-800-230-8103 or visit General Mills' consumer contact page if you have any questions. And honestly, at this point, don't we all?

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