On May 31, 2016, General Mills recalled 10 million pounds of flour sold under the brand names of Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen, and Wondra. The recall was issued after an investigation linked the flour to an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened almost 50 people and sent 11 to the hospital.  This particular strain of E. coli can lead to symptoms that typically include abdominal pain and diarrhea, often bloody; it can also cause severe illness that leads to kidney failure, particularly in young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. On July 1, 2016, General Mills expanded the recall as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized that there were new cases related to additional batches of flour.
The FDA issued a consumer update refreshing its recommendation that kids and adults alike avoid eating any type of raw dough, especially cookie dough.  The agency also cautioned against letting kids play with dough or flour and advised consumers to wash their hands and kitchen surfaces carefully after handling raw dough. Ready made cookie dough is safe to eat as manufacturers use heat-treated flour that should be safe to handle and eat.
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Author: Serena C. Montague
Publication Date: July 8, 2016