• Authorities have identified a brand linked to the active salmonella outbreak
  • They also logged one new illness and another state affected by the outbreak
  • General Mills has recalled certain Gold Medal branded flour

Authorities have linked Gold Medal-branded flour to an active salmonella outbreak that is known to have affected 12 states.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first announced the outbreak on March 30. At the time, 12 people from 11 states had fallen ill. Investigations revealed that flour contaminated with salmonella was making people sick, but exactly which brand may be linked to the illnesses was unclear.

In an update released Monday, the CDC linked certain Gold Medal-branded flour products to the illnesses. This was after General Mills' April 28 recall of certain Gold Medal Bleached and Unbleached All-Purpose Flour due to potential contamination with Salmonella Infantis.

"Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback data show that Gold Medal brand flour contaminated with salmonella has made people sick," the CDC noted.

Specifically, out of the eight patients that authorities interviewed about the foods they ate before getting sick, seven (88%) said they consumed raw dough or batter. Six of them had information on the flour brand — all reported that they bought the Gold Medal brand.

"The only brand reported was Gold Medal," the CDC noted.

Further investigation led authorities to General Mills' Kansas City, Missouri, production facility, where they identified the outbreak strain in one of the flour samples.

One new illness was logged as of the Monday update, while no deaths have been reported. The patients ranged in age from 12 to 81 years.

The outbreak now affects 12 states: California, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia all have one case each, while Illinois has two.

But like most salmonella outbreaks, it's quite likely that more people and more states are truly affected apart from the ones that authorities have noted. This is because many people tend to recover from a salmonella infection without medical care, so they don't get tested for it.

"CDC advises you to throw away or return any bags of recalled flour and to wash any containers used to store recalled flour with warm water and soap," the agency noted.

It is also urging people to cook or bake products that are made "with any brand of flour" before consuming them and avoid eating raw food like cookie dough or cake batter. This is because most flour products are raw. They are generally not treated to kill germs that may cause food poisoning.

"You can get sick if you eat unbaked dough or batter made with flour containing germs," the CDC noted. "Germs are killed only when flour is baked or cooked."

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