E. coli outbreak linked to flour

Federal health authorities are warning about a multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections linked to flour.

Seventeen people have been reported ill in eight states including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Three people have been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported.

Four out of seven people who were interviewed (57 percent) reported eating, licking, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter. Two people reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour or baking mixes from ALDI.

The outbreak strain of E. coli O26 was found in an unopened bag of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour collected at a bakery where an ill person reported eating raw dough. 

ALDI, in association with ADM Milling Co., recalled 5-lb. bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour because they may be contaminated with E. coli.  Recalled flour was sold at ALDI locations in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Reported illnesses began from December 11, 2018 to April 18, 2019.  The investigation is ongoing. FDA is working to determine whether other brands or lots of flour may be potentially contaminated and need to be recalled.

The CDC recommends to avoid using the recalled flour and to throw it away.

If you stored flour purchased from ALDI in another container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or “better by” date, throw it away. Thoroughly wash the containers before using them again.

Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection or think you may have become ill from eating raw dough.  People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ. 

Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.  Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.