Flour removed from local grocery shelves due to E. coli recall

Some local grocery shelves are emptying, and it’s not due to high demand.

Weis Markets and Giant Food Stores announced Wednesday in releases that some varieties of flour would be taken off the shelves due to a nationwide voluntary recall from General Mills, which is linked to possible E. coli contamination.

“General Mills is collaborating with health officials to investigate an ongoing, multistate outbreak of E. coli O121 that may be potentially linked to Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour and Signature Kitchens flour,” General Mills said Tuesday in a company release. “ ...While attempting to track the cause of the illness, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found that approximately half of the individuals reported making something homemade with flour at some point prior to becoming ill. Some reported using a General Mills brand of flour.”

It also said that 38 cases of E. coli across 20 states were reported between Dec. 21 and May 3.

E. coli O121 is a potentially deadly bacterium.

General Mills

“Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick,” General Mills said. “E. coli O121 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, the very young, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness.”

Weis and Giant said in separate releases that the recall affects three Gold Medal Flour varieties, which are 2-pound bags with Universal Product Code (bar code) No. 1600010710, 5-pound bags with UPC No. 1600010610 and 13.5-ounce Gold Medal Shake Pour containers with UPC No.1600018980.

Giant also said Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour, a 5-pound bag with UPC No. 1600019610 was also removed from its shelves.

Weis said it contacted about 10,000 customers who had purchased the products to advise that they return them for a full refund.

Giant said customers who purchased the products should discard unused portions and bring a receipt to stores for a full refund.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli