The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ended its investigation into an E. coli outbreak linked to General Mills flour products, which sickened 63 people across 24 states. Even though the agency has ended its probe, the CDC says it anticipates that cases will continue to surface because the recalled products have long shelf-lives. As such, there are likely a number of people who still have them in their homes.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, an additional 17 cases of E. coli illnesses have been reported since late July. General Mills recalled various sizes and varieties of Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour and Signature Kitchens Flour on May 31, 2016 following reports of illness. Four more illnesses were confirmed afterwards, prompting the company to expand the recall in late July.
“The illnesses reported to health officials continue to be connected with consumers reporting that they ate or handled uncooked dough or ate uncooked batter made with raw flour. No illnesses have been connected with flour that has been properly baked, cooked or handled.” the recall alert stated.
The outbreak was identified last December, when cases of E. coli illnesses were associated with General Mills flour products. New illnesses have been reported as recently as September. So far, no deaths have been attributed to the recall. Patients ranged in age from 1 to 95.
In its final report, the CDC says the E. coli outbreak “is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, whether made from recalled flour or any other flour.” The source of the outbreak is likely flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri, CDC says.