General Mills is recalling five-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour sold nationwide after the discovery of E. coli during a product sampling. The consumer warning to discard and not eat the flour comes two months after federal health officials announced the apparent end to an E. coli outbreak linked to other flour brands that sickened 21 people in nine states.
Walmart and Target are among the retailers who sold the recalled Gold Medal flour, which involved packages with a "better-if-used by" date of Sept. 6, 2020, General Mills said Monday afternoon in a news release.
There have not been any confirmed reports of illnesses related to the product, the Minneapolis manufacturer added.
While most strains of E. coli are harmless, the particular strain found in the General Mills sampling involves E. coli 026, a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, the very young and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to foodborne illnesses.
The flour being recalled has the following UPC code on its packaging: 016000 196100, according to the notice, also posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Consumers can contact General Mills at (800) 230-8103 or visit www.generalmills.com/flour.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control in July said an E. coli outbreak related to four separate flour-related recalls appeared to be over. That said, the agency cautioned that flour has a long shelf life and could still be in people's homes. Those products included several brands of cookie and brownie mixes made by Brand Castle, and specific lots of Pillsbury Best Brand Flour, King Arthur Flour and Aldi Baker's Corner All Purpose Flour.
Of the 21 illnesses in that outbreak, three required hospitalization, according to the CDC.
Back in January, General Mills voluntarily recalled five-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour nationwide due to concerns they might be contaminated with salmonella. That recall involved bags with a "better if used by" date of April 20, 2020. The callback was instituted after sampling of the five-pound bags discovered "the potential presence" of the bacteria that causes salmonella, General Mills said in a statement at the time.