Hometown Food Company has recalled select Pillsbury Unbleached All Purpose Flour products because they may be tainted with salmonella. According to news reports, the flour products were sold at stores including Publix and Winn-Dixie. About 12,815 cases of the flour were affected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture posted alerts telling consumers not to eat these products. The affected flour comes in five-pound bags and has a “better if used by” date of April 2020. So far, no illnesses have been reported.
How Does Salmonella Get into Flour?
This is not the first large recall involving all-purpose flour in the United States. In January, General Mills issued a voluntary national recall of some of its bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour. We often hear about salmonella in poultry, eggs or nut butters. But it’s important to note that salmonella outbreaks in dry foods such as flours are fairly common.
Salmonella is an extremely resilient bacteria group. It can not only tolerate dry conditions, but learn to thrive in it. Food safety specialists say dry heat can actually make the bacteria more persistent in a food or ingredient. Adapting to dry heat is also how salmonella ends up in cooked and packaged dry goods such as cereals and crackers as seen in the recent Ritz Cracker and Honey Smacks cereal salmonella recall of last summer.
Salmonella is typically found in animal intestines and contamination usually comes from contact with feces, which could end up in dry-food products through contamination at the processing plant. In the case of wheat flour, it can be due to the presence of animal feces where the wheat is grown.
If You Have Been Sickened
Salmonella can result in violent physical symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, patients may need to be hospitalized. If you are experiencing any food poisoning symptoms, it is important that you get prompt medical attention and treatment. Report your illness to the local health care agency, which tracks these types of illnesses and outbreaks.
Food producers and establishments that serve food have a responsibility to maintain clean environments and have quality control procedures in place to prevent this type of contamination. If you have been sickened by defective food products, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages and losses. Please contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer to explore your legal rights and options.