General Mills Flour in Baking Mixes: Possible E. Coli Contamination

by Terry Bryant

goldmedalThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working hard to notify consumers that they may have purchased some contaminated baking mixes between December 2015 and February 2016. The specific mixes in question contain General Mills flour that could be tied to an ongoing E. coli O121 outbreak.

Exactly What is E. Coli?

The Mayo Clinic website says that E. coli, also known as Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria that usually lives in the intestines of healthy animals and people. However, there are certain strains of this bacteria, including E. coli O121, that can make people very sick. The most common symptoms are vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

How Is E. Coli Normally Absorbed or Ingested?

Humans normally receive E. coli into their bodies when they consume it in their food or water. It’s a bacterium that is often actually “hidden” in undercooked beef or raw vegetables. While healthy people can recover from ingesting E. coli within about a week – older adults and those with serious, chronic medical conditions can actually develop life-threatening illnesses from it.

How Can You Find Out if You Have This Contaminated Flour in Your Baking Mixes?

According to an article published by FoodSafetyNews.com on August 12, 2016, consumers should look to see if any baking mixes they have were produced by Rabbit Creek under different brand names. On the company website, Rabbit Creek tells consumers with questions about any baking mixes that they can call 1-800-837-3073.

Government officials are concerned that consumers may later use one of these mixes, forgetting about this critical recall. After all, many baking mixes often have a long shelf-life.

The affected foods that may contain this defective or tainted flour include:

  • 15 brands of bread
  • 12 brands of brownies, and
  • Four brands of muffins

As of early August 2016, Rabbit Creek Products of Louisburg, Kansas, says that no illnesses have been reported to it regarding any of its mixes.

Outbreaks of E. Coli Involving General Mills Flour That Still Concern the Government

Unfortunately, consumers in at least 21 states have been infected with the specific strain of E. coli O121 – dating back to December 2015. Bags containing the bad flour have been found in the homes of those who became sick. Furthermore, among the 46 confirmed cases of those infected with this E. coli strain, 13 of them required hospitalization. One person has also now developed kidney failure – a potentially fatal condition.

Specific Brands Possibly Affected

Consumers should check their shelves and look for Krusteaz brand pancake mix, certain Betty Crocker cake mixes, Golden Dipt breading mix, and Marie Callender’s cheese biscuit mix. If you have one of these mixes, be sure to call 1-800-837-3073 before using it.

Should you wish to read more on this topic, be sure to visit the General Mills website – or the CDC website article entitled: “Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infections Linked to Flour.”