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Recalled General Mills flour largely comes from Missouri plant

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- General Mills says the 10 million pounds of its flour recalled over a possible link to an E. coli outbreak in 20 states largely was produced at the company's Kansas City, Missouri, plant.

But company spokesman Mike Siemienas says the E. coli strain hasn't been found in any General Mills flour products or at the Missouri site.

The recall announced Tuesday is for several varieties of Gold Medal and Signature Kitchens flour that were sold at Safeway, Albertsons and other supermarkets.

The company said 38 people were sickened from mid-December through May 3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that half of the people used flour before getting sick, some of it a General Mills brand. General Mills said some also may have eaten raw dough or batter.

The strain of E. coli that may be linked to flour can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration, the company said.

The recall affects the following retail flour products that could be currently in stores or in consumers' pantries. It includes six SKUs (stock keeping units or UPC codes) of Gold Medal flour, 2 SKU's of Signature Kitchens flour and 1 SKU of Gold Medal Wondra flour.

CBS affiliate KCTV detailed some helpful safety tips related to flour:

  • Flour comes from milling wheat, grown outdoors where bacteria are often present. Flour is a raw ingredient that is intended to be cooked or baked. While it is rare for individuals to get sick from flour, it is possible.
  • Raw dough or batter should not be eaten -- no matter how tempting. Children should not be provided raw dough to play with (including at restaurants) unless they are carefully supervised and wash their hands afterwards. Young children frequently like to put things in their mouth or "taste" things, and they are particularly susceptible to getting sick from food borne illnesses.
  • Bacteria found in raw flour are eliminated by normal cooking, baking, frying, or boiling products made with flour. Bacteria is commonly found in flour at low levels because flour comes from milling wheat, something that is grown outdoors where bacteria are often present.
  • All surfaces, hands and utensils should be properly cleaned after contact with flour or dough. Surfaces dusted with flour to roll dough for example, should be properly cleaned after use.
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