All-purpose flour sold in supermarket chain Aldi is the subject of a recent product recall. The grocer company issued the recall after 17 people reported being sick.
According to an alert by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 linked to flour. The particular strain was found in an unopened bag of Baker's Corner All Purpose Flour collected at a bakery where an ill person reported eating raw dough.
At least 17 people from eight states became sick, three of whom have been hospitalized. The illnesses started on dates ranging from Dec. 11, 2018, to April 18. No deaths and no cases of the hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, have been reported so far.
According to the CDC, four out of seven people who were interviewed reported licking, eating, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter. Two people said they ate raw dough or batter made with flour or baking mixes from Aldi.
On May 23, Aldi, in association with ADM Milling Co., recalled the 5-pound bags of Baker's Corner All Purpose Flour sold at retail locations in the northeast United States, particularly in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
"The Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour affected by the ADM Milling Co. recall is sold in a 5 lb. bag with the following UPC code: 041498130404. Out of an abundance of caution, Aldi has recalled all best if used by dates and all lots of Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour products produced by ADM Milling Co. in Buffalo, N.Y. from store shelves in these states," said Aldi in a statement.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to determine whether other brands or lots of flour may be potentially contaminated with E. coli and need to be recalled.
Do Not Eat Raw Dough
The CDC has advised consumers, restaurants, and retailers to properly and immediately dispose of the recalled product. Other flour brands bought from Aldi and stored in another container without packaging must also be discarded, especially if the customer cannot recall the brand or "better by" date.
"Any flour or raw eggs used to make raw dough or batter might be contaminated with harmful germs," the CDC said in a statement as it strongly warned the public never to taste raw dough or batter.
People can get sick from the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli at an average of three to four days after ingesting the germ. Among the most common symptoms of the illness include diarrhea with blood, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. It usually takes a week to recover from the illness, but more serious cases could take longer.