The CDC has started a page on the E. coli O121 (STEC O121) outbreak linked to General Mills flour:
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Sixteen (76%) of 21 people reported that they or someone in their household used flour in the week before they became ill. Nine (41%) of 22 people reported eating or tasting raw homemade dough or batter. Twelve (55%) of 22 people reported using Gold Medal brand flour. Three ill people reported eating or playing with raw dough at restaurants.
The CDC’s “At A Glance”
- Case Count: 38
- States: 20
- Deaths: 0
- Hospitalizations: 10
- Recall: Yes
Here’s the “epi curve”—the graph of when people became ill and how many.
It looks like cases are—or were—popping up one at a time. There is always a reporting lag.
While waiting for more information, the CDC recommends:
- Do not use, serve, or sell the recalled flours.
- Do not eat raw dough or batter, whether made from recalled flour or any other flour.
- Bake items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
- Do not taste raw dough or batter.
- Do not serve raw dough to customers or allow children and other guests to play with raw dough.
But really. Gold Medal flour? If flour is used for cooking or baking, the bacteria would be killed.
OK. I totally get eating raw cookie dough. I did plenty of that back in the day when I baked cookies for my kids, and they helped clean the bowl. Eating raw cookie dough may sound disgusting, but the mix is truly delicious.
If you’ve never tried it, now is not a good time to start. In 2009, there was a really nasty E. coli outbreak from eating pre-packaged raw cookie dough.
But eating or playing with raw dough in restaurants? Is this common practice? News to me.