OTTAWA — An outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli 0121, initially linked to Robin Hood all-purpose flour, original, produced by Smucker Foods of Canada Corp., a subsidiary of The J.M. Smucker Co., has been expanded to include products made by Ardent Mills’ facility in Brampton, Ont.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on April 12 issued an updated food recall warning advising Canadians of the recalled products, which have been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Canadians are advised not to use or eat certain bags of Brodie self-raising cake and pastry flour, Creative Baker all-purpose flour, Creative Baker whole wheat flour, Golden Temple Sooji creamy wheat and Robin Hood all-purpose flour. The full list of recalled products may be found here.
“Ardent Mills is aware of the updated food recall warning in Canada dated April 12, 2017, relating to various brands of flour and flour products recalled due to potential contamination of E. coli 0121,” Ardent Mills noted in an April 12 statement. “Ardent Mills is not aware of any reported illnesses associated with the consumption of the products on the updated food recall warning.
“Flour is a raw agriculture commodity made from wheat, which is grown outdoors where bacteria and microbes, such as E. coli 0121, are often present. The normal milling process does not have a ‘kill’ step to eliminate microbes, such as E. coli 0121, that may originate with the wheat. Common ‘kill steps’ applied during food preparation include thoroughly boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving and frying. These so called ‘kill steps’ will render the microbes or bacteria harmless. Thus, it is important that consumers note public health warnings not to taste raw dough or batter and that eating a small amount could make people sick. Consumers should also use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils or surfaces that flour was used on and to wash their hands after handling flour. Ardent Mills is committed to safety and providing nutritious, grain-based solutions. As such, Ardent Mills continues to cooperate with Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s food safety investigation.”
The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak may be identified, the Public Health Agency of Canada said. Restaurants and retailers are advised not to sell or serve the recalled product or any items that may have been prepared or produced using the recalled product. The outbreak is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, the agency said.By April 5, 26 cases of E. coli 0121 with a matching genetic fingerprint were reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada in the four Canadian provinces of British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 26 cases was a visitor to Canada. Six people were hospitalized. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to late February 2017.