E. coli O26 outbreak linked to flour over, but CDC cautions about flour still on shelves, in homes

The E. coli O26 outbreak linked to flour is over, but the CDC is warning that flour may still be on shelves and in people’s homes.

  • This outbreak appears to be over, but the recalled flour products have long shelf lives and may still be in people’s homes.
  • People should check their homes for recalled flour and throw it away. Do not use any of the recalled flour.
  • A total of 21 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 were reported from nine states.
  • Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 11, 2018, to May 21, 2019.
  • Three hospitalizations and no deaths were reported.
  • Several products were recalled because they may be contaminated with E. coli. Those products include 5-lb. bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour sold at ALDI, some 5-lb. bags of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, some 5-lb. bags of Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, and several brands of cookie and brownie mix produced by Brand Castle.
  • For complete information on how to identify recalled products, visit the FDA website.
  • This outbreak is a reminder to always bake or cook food made with raw dough or batter before eating it. Even tasting a small amount of raw dough or batter could make you sick.

About Shiga toxin-producing E. coli: 

  • 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.
  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out.
  • More information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/ecoli-prevention.html.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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