General Mills flour recall: What you need to know

PHOTO: General Mills announced today a voluntary national recall of five-pound bags of its Gold Medal Unbleached Flour with a better if used by date of April 20, 2020.PlayGeneral Mills
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General Mills announced a voluntary recall on Jan. 23. of their Gold Medal Unbleached Flour, due to the detection of Salmonella during routine sampling. The company is urging consumers to check their pantries for the presence of 5-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour with a “better if used by date of April 20, 2020.”

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Are any other General Mills products at risk?

No other General Mills products, including different-sized bags of Gold Medal Flour or other “better if used by dates,” are impacted by the recall.

What should I do if I have a bag that is being recalled?

Check your pantry and throw away any products that match the recalled product. If you no longer have the flour package, or have doubts about flour in your pantry, throw it away. Affected customers can contact General Mills Consumer Relations at 1-800-230-8103.

Can I get a refund?

If possible, save the product name, UPC (bar code) and “better if used by” date to help get a replacement coupon. If you have any questions about this recall or need a replacement coupon for any product included in this recall, complete this form or call the General Mills Consumer Relations team at 1-800-230-8103.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever. The CDC estimates there are 1.2 million cases annually in the U.S., with about 450 ending in death. People can become infected by consuming food and water contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, which typically happens after exposure to small amounts of animal feces. The most common products affected are beef, poultry, milk, fish or eggs, which is why it is so important to wash your hands and kitchenware after handling these products raw. Cooking kills Salmonella and makes food safe to eat.

Consumers are reminded that flour is not a 'ready to eat' ingredient and should always be cooked.

Do not eat or taste dough or batter made with raw flour. Properly cook or bake food made with flour. Bacteria (such as Salmonella) that might be found in raw flour will be eliminated.

How is food inspection impacted by the government shutdown?

Food safety has been of special concern during the U.S. government shutdown, during which the inspection of certain foods has been halted.

According to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, critical food operations are ongoing during the shutdown including high-risk domestic food inspections, foodborne illness surveillance, high-risk food recalls and inspection of foreign food facilities and imported food samples by unpaid staff.

Low-risk domestic inspection, which includes inspection of dry goods such as cookies and crackers, has been halted.

According Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA is working with General Mills to investigate the recall.

Erica Orsini, MD, is a resident physician in internal medicine and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.