Recently, the FDA provided more details about their investigation into the E. coli outbreak caused by General Mills flour. The FDA investigation began when the CDC notified them that they had detected a string of E. coli poisoning cases. The FDA attempted to find a source of the outbreak, but ran into problems because “When many people buy flour, they empty it into a canister and throw out the bag.” Thankfully, 3 people sickened in the outbreak kept their flour in the original packaging. This allowed the investigation to identify General Mills flour as the source of the outbreak. The source of the outbreak was later confirmed on June 10, when FDA laboratory testing revealed that the strain of E. coli responsible for the outbreak was genetically similar to E. coli found in General Mills flour.
The outbreak was first announced in early June, when the CDC reported that 38 people have been sickened across 20 states. States affected by the outbreak include Alabama with 1 case, Arkansas with 1 case, Arizona with 2 cases, California with 1 case, Colorado with 4 cases, Iowa with 1 case, Illinois with 4 cases, Massachusetts with 2 cases, Maryland with 1 case, Michigan with 4 cases, Minnesota with 3 cases, Missouri with 1 case, Montana with 1 case, New York with 1 case, Oklahoma with 2 cases, Pennsylvania with 2 cases, Texas with 2 cases, Virginia with 2 cases, Washington with 2 cases, and Wisconsin with 1 case. People sickened in the outbreak range in age from 1 to 95, and began to report symptoms between December 21, 2015 and May 3, 2016. Out of the 38 people sickened in the outbreak, 10 have had to be hospitalized because of their illnesses. There have been no reports of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
The CDC investigation also revealed that 9 people ate raw dough made with General Mills flour. Three people also reported playing with raw dough at restaurants prior to their illness. These illnesses prompted the CDC to remind consumers that raw dough is not necessarily safe to eat. The CDC also warned that restaurants should not serve raw dough to customers.
The flour associated with this outbreak was recalled on May 31, 2016. A full list of recalled products can be found here. Consuming products made with the recalled flour could lead to an E. coli infection. A case of E. coli poisoning will begin to show symptoms between 12 and 72 hours after infection. Generally, an E. coli infection will produce symptoms including abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Although many cases of E. coli clear up on their own within a week, some cases may worsen. E. coli poisoning has the potential to cause a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS damages red blood cells, which in turn can damage the kidneys and even cause kidney failure.
If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of E. coli poisoning, your first priority should be contacting a medical professional. If you are diagnosed with E. coli poisoning after eating a product made with recalled General Mills flour, you may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain, and suffering. The lawyers at Merman Law Firm have years of experience in food poisoning cases, and will work hard to recover any losses you may have. If you think that you may have a case, fill out our free evaluation form.