Doctors Beg People: Stop Eating Cookie Dough

Image: Albertine Watson, CC BY-SA 2.0

King Arthur flour recalled because of E. coli outbreak; ADM Milling again named

By Coral Beach on June 13, 2019

Food Safety News – King Arthur is the second brand of flour, following Aldi’s Baker’s Corner, to be recalled in less than a month because of E. coli contamination in flour from Archer Daniels Midland Co. King Arthur Flour Inc. distributed its recalled flour nationwide.

The FDA has not reported if ADM produced other brands at the same time and location as the recalled Aldi and King Arthur flour.

People in eight states have been confirmed with infections from E. coli O26, according to an update posted today by the Food and Drug Administration. Three of the 17 patients have required hospitalization.

No illnesses had been directly linked to the King Arthur brand flour as of the posting of the recall today. [Illnesses from prior distribution of tainted flour have been reported often; details below. – Ed.]

When Aldi announced it’s flour recall, neither Archer Daniels Midland nor the FDA released any information about whether ADM Milling Co. produced or packaged any brands of flour — or products containing it — for Aldi or other customers during the time that it made the Baker’s Corner recalled flour.

The FDA’s policy is to strictly control when such “confidential corporate information” is made public.

As of this evening, the FDA still had not posted any information about what, if any, other companies received flour produced by the implicated ADM Milling factory.

Best-by dates on the recalled King Arthur flour are all in December this year, so public health officials are concerned that consumers may have unused portions in their homes.

Anyone with King Arthur flour in their homes that is no longer in the original packaging should err on the side of caution and throw the flour away.

Consumers can identify the 5-pound bags of recalled King Arthur flour by looking for the following label information:

  • 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 recall does not include products sold through the King Arthur website, Baker’s Catalogue, or the Baker’s Store in Norwich, VT, according to the company’s recall notice posted today by the FDA. King Arthur Flour Inc. of Norwich, VT, reported the recall includes 14,218 cases of 5-pound bags of “Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.”

“King Arthur has been informed by ADM Milling Co. that certain wheat used to make these lots of King Arthur flour has been linked to an ongoing outbreak of E. coli infections. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with King Arthur flour,” according to the company’s recall notice.

“Consumers who have any of these affected products should not consume them and should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for credit or refund.”

People with questions regarding this recall or other King Arthur Flour products are encouraged to call the the company’s Consumer Hotline at 866-797-9178.

Information about E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten or handled any of the suspect flour and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the pathogen. Specific tests are required to diagnose E. coli infections, which have symptoms that can mimic other illnesses and cause difficulties during diagnosis and treatment.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If there is fever, it is usually less than 101 degrees F. Most people get better within a week.

About 5 percent to 10 percent of those who are diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening form of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die. People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. Persons with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working. They may also develop other serious problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and neurologic problems.

This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output.

For additional information about the current flour recalls and associated E. coli outbreak, please see:

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CDC Warns of Health Risks From Eating Raw Cookie Dough

Uncooked dough hasn’t been treated to kill germs, which can cause illnesses in people who consume it.

By Alexa LardieriDec. 10, 2018

While you’re baking delicious treats for family and friends, think twice before reaching for a bite of the raw dough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people to “Say no to raw dough!”

As tempting as it may be to sneak a little piece before popping the dough in the oven, eating raw dough can make you sick.

“When you prepare homemade cookie dough, cake mixes, or even bread, you may be tempted to taste a bite before it is fully cooked,” the CDC said. “But steer clear of this temptation — eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick.”

Children can even become sick from playing with or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay.

According to the CDC, flour contained in raw dough isn’t treated to kill germs, like those that cause E. coli, and these germs can contaminate grain while it is in the field or at any other steps as the flour is produced. However, cooking the flour kills the harmful bacteria.

Raw dough is never safe to eat, even if it hasn’t been part of a recall, such as in 2016 when there was an E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour. Sixty-three people became sick … Read more. 

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