A multi-state outbreak of e-coli has been link to flour. Four of the cases are in Michigan, as close as Kent County.The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), and other state and local public health agencies to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) infections linked to three brands of flour – Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour, and Signature Kitchens flour produced by General Mills.

Nationally, 38 people in 20 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121; these illnesses occurred between late December 2015 and early May 2016. Four cases are adult residents of Michigan in Ingham, Kent, Oakland, and Ottawa counties; two of the four cases were hospitalized.

Preliminary results of the national epidemiologic investigation indicate an association between the outbreak strain and someone baking with Gold Medal flour or exposed to raw dough in restaurants. Traceback investigations show the flour was produced at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri.

The company announced a voluntary nationwide recall due to possible E. coli contamination of the three products on May 31. MDARD is conducting recall audit checks at grocery stores, convenience stores, and various other locations to ensure the product is removed from store shelves.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps. Recovery for most people occurs within one week. However, some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is more commonly seen in young children (less than 5 years), older adults, and people who are immune compromised. HUS symptoms can include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue, bruising, bleeding from nose and mouth, and decreased urination. People who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

The list of recalled products and the manufacturing date range include the following:

Graphic courtesy of MDHHS

Source: Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services

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