CDC Food Safety Alert: E. Coli O26 Outbreak Linked to Flour

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 24, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC food safety alert regarding a multistate outbreak of E. coli O26 infections linked to flour has been posted https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2019/flour-05-19/index.html.

Key points:

  • CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 infections linked to flour.
  • Seventeen ill people have been reported from eight states. Three people have been hospitalized.
  • No deaths and no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure) have been reported.
  • Four out of seven people who were interviewed (57 percent) reported eating, licking, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter. Two people reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour or baking mixes from ALDI.
  • The outbreak strain of E. coli O26 was found in an unopened bag of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour collected at a bakery where an ill person reported eating raw dough.
  • On May 23, 2019, ALDI, in association with ADM Milling Co., recalledpdf iconexternal icon 5-lb. bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour because they may be contaminated with E. coli.
  • Recalled flour was sold at ALDI locations in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachussetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
  • Reported illnesses began from December 11, 2018 to April 18, 2019.
  • This investigation is ongoing. FDA is working to determine whether other brands or lots of flour may be potentially contaminated and need to be recalled.
  • CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Advice to consumers, retailers, and restaurants:

  • Do not use any of the recalled flour. Throw recalled flour away.
  • If you stored flour purchased from ALDI in another container without the packaging and don’t remember the brand or “better by” date, throw it away. Thoroughly wash the containers before using them again.
  • Any flour or raw eggs used to make raw dough or batter might be contaminated with harmful germs.
  • Never taste raw dough or batter; even tasting a small amount could make you sick.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection or think you may have become ill from eating raw dough.

About Shiga toxin-producing E. coli:

  • People get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli an average of 3 to 4 days after swallowing the germ.
  • Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.
  • Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.
  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out.
  • More information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/ecoli-prevention.html.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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Page last reviewed: May 24, 2019