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Bakers beware. There’s yet another outbreak of Ecoli linked to flour – this time there’s an Bakers Corner Flour Ecoli Outbreak. So grab a pen and get ready to check your pantries. There’s an Ecoli O26 outbreak and a recall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported just today that there is a multi-state outbreak of Ecoli O26 infections linked to Aldi, in association with ADM Milling Co., Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour. As of today, the CDC reports that the Bakers Corner Flour Ecoli Outbreak has 17 confirmed cases of Ecoli illnesses in 8 states, 3 of which have been hospitalized. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported at this time. It is currently unknown if anyone has suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but potentially deadly complication of STEC Ecoli infections.
According to the CDC, the states involved in the outbreak include: California (1), Connecticut (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Pennsylvania (2), and Rhode Island (1). The CDC provided the following map to show the affected states:
According to the CDC’s website, these illnesses started on dates ranging from December 11, 2018, to April 18, 2019. The CDC also reports that “ill people range in age from 7 to 86 years, with a median age of 23. 65% of ill people are female.”
During interviews, ill people told the CDC about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 7 people who were interviewed, four (57%) reported eating, licking, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter. Of these, 2 people had detailed information reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour or baking mixes from ALDI.
The FDA and Aldi have announced the recall of raw flour products in connection with the Bakers Corner Flour Ecoli Outbreak. According to Aldi’s announcement:
“In cooperation with ADM Milling Co., ALDI has recalled Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour sold at retail locations in the Northeastern United States due to a potential presence of E. coli.
This product was sourced from an ADM Milling Co. production facility in Buffalo, N.Y. and was distributed to select ALDI stores in 11 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour affected by the ADM Milling Co. recall is sold in a 5 lb. bag with the following UPC code: 041498130404. Out of an abundance of caution, ALDI has recalled all best if used by dates and all lots of Bakers Corner All Purpose Flour products produced by ADM Milling Co. in Buffalo, N.Y. from store shelves in these states.
ALDI takes the safety and integrity of the products it sells seriously. If customers have product affected by this voluntary recall, they should discard it immediately or return it to their local store for a full refund.
Consumers with additional questions can contact ADM Milling Co. Customer Service at 800-422-1688 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CT.
Consumers are reminded to not consume any raw products made with flour. Flour is an ingredient that comes from milling wheat, something grown outdoors that carries with it risks of bacteria which are rendered harmless by baking, frying or boiling. Consumers are reminded to wash their hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products or flour, and to never eat raw dough or batter. For more information about risks of consuming raw dough…”
Not sure if you have the flour in your home? Here’s what the package looks like:
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced as well that it collected and analyzed an unopened sample of this flour and determined that the flour contained E. coli O26. Whole Genome Sequencing results showed that the E. coli O26 strain identified in the Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour sample was closely related genetically to the E. coli O26 strain identified in ill people.
So, RIDOH issued a public warning to consumers not to eat this flour on May 22, 2019. The health agency report also notes that “five-pound bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour packed for ALDI with lot code L18A02B and a “best if used by” date of December 02, 2019″ are the products of concern.
This investigation is ongoing. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates flour is a likely source of this outbreak. FDA is conducting traceback investigations and working to determine whether other brands or lots of flour may be potentially contaminated and need to be recalled. In the meantime, the FDA reminds consumers to be cautious of raw flour.
At this time, all of the health agencies have put consumers on notice that raw flour (in general) could be a health concern. According to the RIDOH, “Consumers are reminded to not consume any raw products made with flour. Flour is an ingredient that comes from milling wheat, something grown outdoors that carries with it risks of bacteria which are rendered harmless by baking, frying, or boiling. Consumers are reminded to wash their hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products or flour, and to never eat raw dough or batter.”
The CDC and FDA have similar recommendations.
The FDA reminds consumers to:
“Do not eat any raw cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw batter or dough products.
Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour or cake mix may spread easily due to its powdery nature.”
Meanwhile, the CDC has much more to comment, as follows:
“Eating raw dough can make you sick.
Clean up thoroughly after baking.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw dough.
Restaurants and other retailers should not use, sell or serve any of the recalled flour.
Restaurants and other retailers should always be safe with raw dough.
Escherichia coli O26 is one of the varieties of E. coli that produce a nasty chemical called a shiga toxin. These species of Ecoli are called STEC Ecoli. Not all of the E. coli cause illness in people, but those that do are quite serious. Symptoms manifest within 2 to 10 days, most often showing up between day 3 and day 4 after exposure. They’re a bit harsher than your typical case of food poisoning; vomiting is common, as is bloody diarrhea.
Like other strains that produce shiga toxin, O26 can cause a debilitating condition called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a condition that most often affects children. The condition’s symptoms include kidney failure, the loss of red blood cells leading to anemia, and a low count of platelets in the blood. Hemolytic-uremic syndrome is quite deadly, and proves fatal for five to ten percent of those unfortunate enough to develop it.
This is why anyone who believes that they have the symptoms of Ecoli and have been exposed to Bakers Corner flour they should immediately seek medical attention.
The Lange Law Firm –www.MakeFoodSafe.com
Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water. When corporations cause Ecoli food poisoning outbreaks or Legionnaires disease outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable. The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.
If you were infected with Ecoli after exposure to Aldi/ ADM Milling Co. Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we have an Ecoli lawyer ready to help you. Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.
By: Candess Zona-Mendola, Editor (Non-Lawyer)