(CNN) Investigators have identified gold medal flour as the source of a salmonella outbreak that has infected at least 13 people in 12 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.
General Mills announced last week that it is recalling 2-, 5-, and 10-pound bags of Gold Medal All-Purpose, Bleached and Unbleached flour that have a “best if used by” date of March 27 or 28, 2024.
Of the eight people health officials interviewed, seven reported eating raw pulp or paste, the CDC said. All six people who remembered the brand of flour they used reported gold medal all-purpose flour, w [the US Food and Drug Administration] I found the strain of fascism in Gold Medal flour collected from a General Mills facility in Missouri.”
Three people have been hospitalized due to the outbreak, but no deaths have been reported. The CDC notes that the true number of illnesses is probably higher because some people who recover without medical care do not get tested for salmonella and because it takes weeks to link illnesses to an outbreak.
Salmonella usually causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps within six hours to six days of ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover without treatment within a week, but people who are younger, older, or have a weakened immune system may develop severe disease.
Consumers who have recalled flour should dispose of it or return it to the point of purchase, and wash any surfaces or containers it may have come into contact with.
“We continue to educate consumers that flour is not a ‘ready-to-eat’ ingredient. Anything made with flour must be cooked or baked before eating it,” General Mills spokeswoman Molly Wolfe said in a statement last week.
Most flour is raw and has not been treated to kill the germs that cause food poisoning, according to the CDC. Salmonella bacteria die when cooked or baked, but people can get sick when eating or tasting foods that include raw flour. Raw dough used in crafts and clay toys also poses a risk.
The CDC recommends baking or cooking any foods made with any type of raw flour before eating them. Wash hands, bowls, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after using raw flour. If making playdough at home, use heat-treated flour.