ALDI grocery stores recalled all purpose flour recently due to a multistate outbreak of E. coli O26 infections. As of May 24, 2019, 17 people have been infected across eight states. No deaths have been reported.
Investigation results have shown that of those interviewed, they reported eating, licking, or tasting raw dough or batter. DNA fingerprinting identified the flour as the source of the infection.
Symptoms of E. coli infection can appear in one to three days. But the time it takes to confirm that a person is a part of an outbreak can take two to three weeks.
A nationwide recall of flour in Canada has led to a class-action lawsuit. The recall is due to 26 cases of E. coli including six hospitalizations, but no deaths.
This large recall is another reminder that flour is a raw food product. After handling flour, always wash your hands and clean surfaces and equipment thoroughly. Baking and cooking flour will also kill E. coli. Do not consume raw dough products such as cookie dough and cake batter.
The holidays bring the joy of time with family and friends! One tradition is making cookies to share. With recent recalls of contaminated flour, it is important to handle cookie dough safely to not spoil holiday fun.
Many cookies are shaped with your hands. Resist the temptation to lick your fingers or sample the cookie dough! Risks from eating raw eggs and now uncooked flour, can increase your risk of getting a foodborne illness. Regardless of the brand or source of flour or eggs, the risk of foodborne illness is present when consumed raw.
Be sure hard surfaces to roll out cookie dough are clean and sanitized before and after dough has been in contact with the surface.
As always, wash your hands before and after handling cookie dough or any raw foods. Follow recipe instructions for baking cookies at proper temperatures and specified times.
While the investigation for flour is over, illnesses may still occur. The recalled flour and flour products have long shelf lives and may still be in people’s homes. Consumers who don’t know about the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick.
This recall was traced back to a variety of products that use flour milled at a General Mills facility. Besides flour, the other products include:
A recent recall of flour has prompted concerns about eating raw dough products such as raw cookie dough, raw bread dough, and homemade craft dough. Any type of flour is a raw food product. At least one person has been sickened with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) due to eating raw pizza dough a restaurant gave to the consumer. HUS develops from E. coli contamination and can be deadly. Here is advise to consumers:
Flour or raw eggs used to make raw dough or batter might be contaminated.
Bake items made with raw dough or batter before eating them. Follow the recipe or instructions on the package.
Do not taste raw dough or batter. Even tasting a small amount could make you sick.
Wash any bowls, utensils, and other surfaces that were used when baking with hot water and soap.
Wash your hands with water and soap after handling dough or batter.
Restaurants should not give customers raw dough to play with or eat.