After new reports of more people getting ill, General Mills expanded their recall to an additional 20 million pounds of particular types of flour.

At the end of May, an outbreak of E. coli was reported in 20 states, with 38 people affected between December 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led an investigation and found that some of the E. coli cases reported using different brands of flour of General Mills, including Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens. Therefore, the company pulled those brands out of the shelves, recalling on June 1 over 10 million pounds of flour as a prevention.

The company, which owns Cheerios and Pillsbury, is recalling its products due to an E. coli outbreak. Credit: Clearlyveg

The CDC linked the outbreak to the flour produced at General Mills’ plant in Kansas City, Missouri. The strain of bacteria was detected in samples of powder from homes of reportedly sick people in Colorado, Oklahoma and Arizona.

After four more people had been reported ill, adding a new state – Indiana – to the list, the company decided on Friday to recall another 20 million pounds of flour, reaching a total of 30 million pounds of Gold Medal and other brands of flour. Eleven people out of the 42 have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

“The recall is being expanded due to a newly reported illness that appears to have stemmed from the consumption of raw dough or batter linked to flour produced last fall,” General Mills said in a statement.

Consuming raw dough or batter could be making people sick

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently advised consumers not to eat cookie dough, because of the outbreak of E. coli O121. Now, the CDC directly links the bacteria to consuming the flour in its raw state, and they are urging consumers not to eat it that way.

Although baking frying or boiling the flour kills most of the bacteria, the CDC advises that “consumers should not use any of the recalled flour and should throw it out.”

The General Mills website punctuates that “although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick.” Symptoms include bloody diarrhea because of intestinal bleeding, cramping, and dehydration. The E. coli O121 is potentially deadly, causing serious kidney problems.

The CDC also advises consumers to clean up thoroughly after baking with contaminated flour, washing all utensils, bowls, and surfaces used to avoid exposing themselves to the bacteria.

General Mills published the complete list of specific brands and sizes of the recalled flour product on their website.

Source: ABC News Radio