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Update: Flour Recall Expands Over E. Coli Fears

photo of King Arthur flour

This story was updated on Dec. 2, 2019  with additional brands recalling flour products and on Nov. 4, 2019 with additional lots of King Arthur flour recalled. 

May 28, 2019 -- Check your pantry:  Two more companies have recalled bags of flour that may contain E. coli bacteria.

Hodgson Mill of Effingham, IL, has recalled 5-pound bags of its Unbleached All-Purpose White Wheat Flour. The recall includes bags with UPC 0-71518-05009-2, best-by-date of Oct. 1, 2020 and oct. 2, 2020, and lot codes 001042 & 005517. Also, UNFI issued a national recall of 5-pound bags of its Wild Harvest Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached, with a "BEST IF USED BY" date of Jan. 8, 2020 and UPC Code 711535509158. 

Pillsbury has recalled two lots of its Pillsbury Best bread flour, three days after King Arthur recalled 14,000 cases of unbleached, all-purpose flour and a month after Aldi recalled its Baker’s Corner all-purpose flour. Both products may contain E. coli bacteria.

King Arthur expanded its recall in November  to include an additional 3 lots of 5-pound unnbleached all-purpose flour and in October to include an additional 31 lots of 5-pound unnbleached all-purpose flour and 25-pound bags sold at Costco only. 

Most of the products were milled by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) at its production facilities in Buffalo, NY, or St. Louis. It's not clear where Wild Harvest flour was milled. ADM calls itself “one of the largest producers of private label flour and corn products.”

See the list of PIllsbury products recalled here, and the King Arthur products here and here.

Also, the J.M. Smucker Co. has recalled four lots of Robin Hood all-puprose flour sold in the U.S., also for E. coli concerns. The recall only includes Robin Hood products sold in the U.S., not in Canada. Go here to see which lots have been recalled

The FDA says consumers should not use or eat the flour. Throw it away or return it to the store for a refund.

The Aldi flour was distributed in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia. The King Arthur flour was distributed nationwide and includes six lots:  L18A07C with best used by date of Dec. 17, 2019;  L18A08A and L18A08B with best used by date of Dec. 8, 2019;  L18A14A, L18A14B and L18A14C with best used by date of Dec. 14, 2019. 

The Pillsbury flour was shipped for sale in 10 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It includes 5 pound bags with lot codes 8 342 and 8 343 with use-by-dates of June 8, 2020 and June 9, 2020. 

The King Arthur flour was sold to distributors and retailers nationwide. 

The strain of E. coli found in the flour is closely related to a bug that has already sickened 17 people in eight states. People started getting sick Dec. 11, 2018. The latest illness in the outbreak was reported on April 18, 2019. King Arthur says no illnesses have been reported from its products, as does Pillsbury parent company Hometown Food Co. 

The FDA is working with ADM to determine whether other lots of flour made at the same production facility may also be contaminated and need to be recalled.

Until more is known, as a precaution, they’re reminding everybody -- no matter what kind of flour you have at home -- not to eat raw batter or dough that’s meant to be cooked or baked. Washing hands, utensils, and work surfaces after contact with flour and raw dough can also keep you from getting sick.  Keep in mind that flour can easily contaminate your kitchen since it is powdery and spreads easily.

People who get sick from E. coli an average of 3-4 days after eating it.  People usually get diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting. The diarrhea may be bloody.  Most people recover within a week, but sometimes the infection can last longer and be more severe.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on May 28, 2019

Sources

FDA: “Outbreak Investigation of E. Coli 026 Linked to Aldi Baker’s Corner Flour," "In Cooperation with ADM Milling Co., Hometown Food Company Issues Voluntary Recall of Specific Lot Codes Pillsbury® Best Bread Flour Due to Possible Health Risk," and "In Association with ADM Milling Co, King Arthur Flour, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Limited Quantity of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 Lb.) Because of Possible Health Risk," "King Arthur Flour Updates Three Lot Codes of Voluntarily Recalled Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 lb.)."

News release, Archer Daniels Midland.

CDC Food Safety Alert: May 24, 2019.

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