General Mills has recalled about 10 million pounds of flour due to food poisoning concerns. According to a CNN news report, the flour has been linked to an E. coli outbreak across 20 states that has sickened at least 38 people. At least 10 of those victims have been hospitalized. About half of those who were sickened said they made something at home with flour before becoming ill and some reported using a General Mills brand of flour.
The illnesses were reported between December 21 and May 3. However, the company has said they have not found any E. coli in General Mills flour products or in manufacturing facilities. The company has also not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses relating to these products, officials said. Some of the ill individuals said they consumed raw dough or batter. The recalled products include Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour and Signature Kitchens flour. All three brands were sold at Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls and Acme retailers. Consumers are urged not to use the recalled flour if they have it at home.
The Dangers of E. coli
Signs and symptoms of E. coli infections typically begin three or four days after exposure to the bacteria although an individual may become ill as soon as one day after to more than a week later. Signs and symptoms include diarrhea (may range from mild to severe and bloody), abdominal cramping, pain, nausea and vomiting.
Young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of becoming ill. An E. coli infection has the potential to cause a serious or even life-threatening condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. This occurs when bacterial toxins cross from the intestines to the bloodstream and damage the very small blood vessels. HUS could result in kidney damage or even death and occurs in 10 percent of all E. coli cases.
If You Have Become Ill
If you have consumed food that has made you ill, it is important that you get medical attention right away. Victims of food poisoning may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer will be able to advise victims in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.