If you’ve recently purchased General Mills Gold Medal flour, you may want to trash it, as it could be contaminated with E. coli.
General Mills has recalled five-pound bags of their Gold Medal Unbleached Flour with a “better-if-used by” date of September 6, 2020 (displayed on the bag as 06SEP2020KC). These bags were sold at several retailers nationwide, including Walmart and Target.
Affected products have a UPC of 016000 196100 on the package.
If you do have one of these bags of flour in your pantry, the FDA advises you throw it away—do not cook with it. If you are affected by the recall, you may contact General Mills Consumer Relations at 1-800-230-8103 or visit www.generalmills.com/flour.
While no illnesses have been linked to this particular batch of flour, just a few months ago, there were 21 instances of illness in nine states that were linked to E. coli in other flour brands.
E. coli O26 (the type found in General Mills Gold Medal Flour during a routine quality control inspection) is killed by baking, frying, sauteing, and boiling, but it is a potentially deadly strain of the bacteria that could still contaminate your hands, counters, and cookware in its raw state.
Related Reading: 10 Hidden Kitchen Hazards
Not-so-fun fact: This is also why you’re advised to never eat raw cookie dough—not because it contains raw eggs, but because raw flour can harbor dangerous bacteria! (That said, if you heat treat your flour first and use pasteurized eggs, you can eat raw dough with no worries.)
If you have stored contaminated flour in a canister or other reusable container, be sure to thoroughly wash that as well after discarding the flour itself.
Only five-pound bags of Gold Medal flour with the 06SEP2020KC date and 016000 196100 UPC code are affected; all other Gold Medal flour is safe to keep and cook with.
The CDC’s site has more information about previous 2019 flour recalls, and reminds you to always thoroughly wash hands, bowls, utensils, and surfaces after contact with raw flour—and not to taste any raw dough containing flour, as even a small amount could make you sick.
Header image courtesy of Arisara Tongdonnoi / EyeEm / Getty Images