Food manufacturer General Mills on Tuesday announced a voluntary recall of more than 10 million pounds of flour due to concern over a recent E. coli outbreak possibly involving several of the company’s brands.
The Minnesota-based company announced that the recall involves the Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens brands of flour sold in Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls, and Acme grocers outlets.
The company said the recall is related to concern over the spread of E. coli O121 in recent months, although a definitive link between the bacteria and the flour has not been established.
“Out of an abundance of caution, a voluntary recall is being made,” General Mills stated in a press release Tuesday. “To date, E. coli O121 has not been found in any General Mills flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility, and the company has not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to these products.”
The outbreak has so far sickened more than three dozen people in 20 states since December, federal officials said. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about half of those sickened reported baking something with flour, including the aforementioned General Mills brands, before they became ill.
“At General Mills, the safety of our products is our top priority,” the company said on its website Tuesday. “We want to take an active part in helping to prevent food-borne illnesses.”
Officials say E. coli O121 is a potentially deadly form of the bacteria, particularly to seniors and the very young.
General Mills encouraged any consumers with questions to visit the company’s website.
“As a leading provider of flour for 150 years, we felt it was important to not only recall the product and replace it for consumers if there was any doubt, but also to take this opportunity to remind our consumers how to safely handle flour,” President of General Mills Baking division Liz Nordlie said.