4 in Mich. sickened by E. coli linked to recalled flour

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Four Michigan residents became ill during an E. coli outbreak that led to General Mills recalling about 10 million pounds of its flour over its possible link, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Michigan cases are adults living in Oakland, Ingham, Kent and Ottawa counties, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Two of the cases required hospitalization.

All told, 38 people were sickened in 20 states from mid-December through May 3, officials said.

The recall is for several varieties of Gold Medal and Signature Kitchens flour that were sold at Safeway, Albertsons and other supermarkets. General Mills said E. coli hasn’t been found in any of its flour products, but the company is still recalling them out of “an abundance of caution.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that half of the people used flour before getting sick, some of which was a General Mills Inc. brand. Some may have also eaten raw dough or batter, the Minneapolis food company said.

General Mills said customers should not eat raw dough or batter, and the bacteria found in raw flour is eliminated when cooked. It also said customers should wash their hands and work surfaces after contact with raw dough or flour.

The strain of E. coli that may be linked to flour can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration, the company said.