What’s the Problem?
Flour, a pantry staple once thought to be harmless, has recently been found to contain dangerous bacteria that make people violently ill. Dozens of flour products have been recalled over potential contamination with bacteria including E. coli, salmonella, and listeria.
Update: 2 Brands Flour Recalled Over E. Coli Contamination
Dec. 1, 2019 – Hodgson Mill and Wild Harvest flour products are being recalled nationwide over concerns of potential E. coli contamination, according to the FDA. Specific items affected by the recall include:
Unbleached All-Purpose White Wheat Flour (5 lb.)
Best By Date 10-01-2020 and 10-02-2020 with lot codes listed Lot# 001042 & 005517
Wild Harvest Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached
Code of AA
BEST IF USED BY 010820
UPC Code 711535509158
King Arthur Flour Recall Extended
Nov. 4, 2019 – The King Arthur Flour Company is extending its June recall to include additional batches of its unbleached all-purpose flour for possible E. coli contamination, according to Newsweek. The newly-affected batches are 5-pound bags with lot codes L18A09A, L18A09C (best used by date: 12/09/19), and A19A08A (best used by date: 01/08/20). Lot codes and best used by dates can be found at the bottom of the ingredient side panel on the packet.
How to get a Refund
Consumers who purchased flour affected by the recall should not use it and discard it immediately. To obtain a refund or replacement, submit a form to kingarthurflour.com/voluntaryrecall. You may also call the King Arthur consumer hotline at 1-866-797-9178.
Pillsbury Flour Recall
October 7, 2019 – Hometown Food Company, the parent company of Pillsbury baking products, is recalling about 4,620 cases of 5-pound bags of Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, according to CBS New York. Affected products were distributed to stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Robin Hood Flour Recall
October 4, 2019 – The J.M. Smucker Company issued a nationwide recall for several lots of Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour over E. coli concerns on Friday, just 1 day after the King Arthur Flour recall was announced. The recalled Robin Hood Flour was distributed in 5 pound bags with lot codes and “Best If Used By” dates of 8350 513 – 6/16/2020; 8351 513 – 6/17/2020; 8354 513 – 6/20/2020; and 8355 513 – 6/21/2020.
King Arthur Flour Recall
October 3, 2019 – In Association with ADM Milling Co, King Arthur Flour, Inc., has expanded a recall for Unbleached All-Purpose Flour over potential E. coli contamination, according to an FDA alert issued on Thursday. The recalled flour was milled by ADM Milling in Buffalo, New York, and distributed in 5 & 25 pound bags by King Arthur Flour through retailers and distributors nationwide, and sold online, the agency said.
E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Raw Flour
November 24, 2017 – An outbreak of E. coli food poisoning infections that occurred last year across much of the U.S. has been tied to bacteria found in raw flour, according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The problem with flour may be more common and widespread than originally thought:
“Our data show that although it is a low-moisture food, raw flour can be a vehicle for foodborne pathogens,” the researchers said.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began investigating the E. coli outbreak in June 2016, according to CNN. The agencies subsequently fingered General Mills as the likely cause of the outbreak, and the company issued a recall for 3 brands of its flour: Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens.
After tests confirmed that the flour was indeed to blame, the recall was expanded to include flour produced from Nov. 14, 2015, to Feb. 10, 2016.
At least 5 other companies that used recalled flour in their products initiated recalls of their own, including Betty Crocker cake mix, Marie Callender’s biscuit mix and Krusteaz pancake mix.
E. Coli Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of E. coli infection typically begin to present 3 to 4 days after exposure to the bacteria, and may include:
- Abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
One potential complication of E. coli infection is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition that occurs when the kidneys stop working. In the NEJM study noted above, researchers detailed an outbreak of E. coli that caused 63 cases of HUS across 24 states. Of these, 17 patients required hospitalization because their symptoms were so severe.
Signs and symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome include:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Decreased urination or blood in the urine
- Abdominal pain
- Pallor changes
- Small bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth
- Fatigue and irritability
- Confusion or seizures
- High blood pressure
- Swelling of the face, hands, feet or entire body
Can Bacteria in Flour be Killed?
There are ways to kill bacteria in flour before it reaches consumers, but they aren’t currently in use in the U.S. Heat treatment, for example, will kill the E. coli and other pathogens in flour products. However, this process also changes the structure of the flour, which affects the texture of baked goods, which is no good.
Irradiation, which is typically used to kill parasites and other pests in flour, is another option, except that it takes a much higher dose of radiation to kill bacteria compared to that needed to eliminate pests.
King Arthur Recalls 14,000 Cases Flour Over E. Coli Contamination
July 14, 2019 – King Arthur Flour is recalling 14,218 cases of five-pound King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour due to the potential presence of E. coli, FDA said on Thursday. The recall involves the following 6 code lots and 3 best-used-by dates, located on the bottom side panel, below the nutrition facts panel:
- BEST USED BY 12/07/19 LOT: L18A07C
- BEST USED BY 12/08/19 LOTS: L18A08A, L18A08B
- BEST USED BY 12/14/19 LOTS: L18A14A, L18A14B, L18A14C
The flour, made by ADM, was sold in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The recalled Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour has the UPC code 041498130404.
Baker’s Corner Flour Linked to Multi-State Outbreak of E. Coli Infections, CDC Warns
May 28, 2019 – The CDC is warning about an E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour that was recalled last week by the supermarket chain ALDI and sold under The Baker’s Corner brand which has sickened at least 17 people in 8 states. Illness onset dates range from Dec. 11, 2018, to April 18, 2019, and at least 3 people have been hospitalized for complications associated with their illnesses, CDC said.
Pillsbury Recalls Flour Over Salmonella Fears
March 13, 2019 – The producers of Pillsbury Unbleached All-Purpose Flour have announced a nationwide recall for more than 12,000 cases sold to retailers and supermarket chains, after a routine FSIS inspection found salmonella bacteria in some of the samples. Cases of the recalled flour — each of which contains about 8 bags that weigh 5 pounds each — were mostly sold to Publix and Winn-Dixie supermarkets, FSIS said.
New Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Organic Coconut Sold at Natural Grocers
March 20, 2018 – The CDC has launched a new investigation into a salmonella outbreak linked to “Coconut Smiles” from Natural Grocers, Inc., a Lakewood, Colorado, firm whose products tested positive for the same strain of salmonella bacteria as the patients who fell ill, according to the FDA.
Do I Have a Flour Recall Lawsuit?
The Food Poisoning Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in flour recall lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new E. coli infection cases in all 50 states.