One of the best parts of baking a cake or cookies is being able to clean off the mixers and taste the batter or dough before it goes in the oven. Cookie dough has become a common flavor in ice cream, candy and even protein bars. A recent recall of flour by General Mills, however, has people staying away from the sweet treat due to a possible risk of E. Coli contamination.
General Mills has issued four recalls of flour (amounting to 45 million pounds) and cake mix since May 31, as two strains of E. Coli bacteria were found in their products. To date, more than 45 people in 21 states have been affected by the contaminated items, with multiple hospitalizations reported and one person developing a type of kidney failure. The recalled flour and cake mix was processed at the company’s plant in Kansas City, Missouri. The flour in the cake mix itself was not part of the recalled flour, but rather the flavor chips in the mix were made with the possible contaminated flour. The products part of the recall can be found on the General Mills website.
Since E. Coli bacteria usually stems from animal feces, both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control are still investigating how the products became affected. General Mills feels the contamination did not occur at the plant itself as no strains of E. Coli have been found on-site, but the company has raised the level of cleaning procedures at the facility as a precaution. Flour had previously never been the source of an illness stemming from contaminated food.
For consumers, it is best to throw away any items that may be part of the E. Coli outbreak, including previously opened flour being stored in containers with no packaging. The CDC recommends using the same safety measures with these products in the kitchen as you would with other foods that could leave harmful bacteria on surfaces. In addition, stay away from that raw cookie dough or cake batter, as eating the uncooked dough is the easiest way to take in the bacteria. Be sure to properly cook items made with flour, as the cooking and baking process will kill the E. Coli bacteria. Parents should also refrain from giving raw dough to children to play with, especially since young children have an increased risk of becoming ill.
In most cases, ingesting E. Coli causes abdominal cramping and diarrhea which subsides in about a week, but kidney failure is a possibility. Consumers must be proactive to protect themselves from contamination but it is also the responsibility of food companies to ensure the products they sell are safe for consumption. If you or a family member has become ill due to E. Coli or any other type of food contamination, you need an attorney to stand up to those responsible for your suffering. Be sure to contact the skilled and experienced lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.