If you stockpile flour in your baker's pantry, be sure to check the packaging—it may be tainted with potentially life-threatening bacteria.

By Zee Krstic
October 04, 2019

Back in June, just before Father's Day, the nationwide flour distributor King Arthur announced a voluntary recall due to possible E. coli bacterial contamination in certain bulk bags of its unbleached all-purpose flour. More than 14,000 cases had been distributed at the time to retailers across the country. Now safety officials at the Food and Drug Administration say that further product sampling has resulted in positive traces of E. coli bacteria in additional batches of flour, meaning that the flour brand is once again asking customers to check their stockpiles out of caution. 

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According to a safety notice posted by the FDA, the flour was produced prior to February 2019 in Buffalo, New York, before it was distributed to grocery stores across the nation; the product in question is packaged in 5-pound and 25-pound bags. The extra-large bulk bags were sold in Costco stores as early as April, the FDA reports, and is marked with best-by dates that range from December 2019 through January 2020. 

Related: General Mills Recalls Gold Medal Flour Once Again Due to Potential E. Coli Contamination

The five-pound bags had similar expiration dates, but officials are asking shoppers to confirm their risk by checking the flour's lot codes, which can be found near it's barcode information. For a full list of impacted lot codes, read the FDA's recall notice here.  

Safety officials advise against consuming products made with raw flour; E. coli bacteria is only killed off after proper baking, frying, sautéing, or boiling takes place, and incorporating flour into an otherwise raw dish can put you at higher risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of E. coli poisoning include severe abdominal pain and chronic diarrhea that can manifest itself within 72 hours of exposure. You should seek medical attention if you have consumed the tainted flour recently, but most shoppers will simply be able to return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.

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