By: James Peacock

Finally, the secondary recalls related to the General Mills E Coli outbreak have been released. The General Mills outbreak, involving several brands of flour owned by General Mills, has recently led to a few secondary recalls. The secondary recalls are not uncommon, as we have seen a myriad of secondary recalls associated recently with frozen vegetables and sunflower seeds. Typically, the announcement of a secondary recall is a good sign, meaning that the food manufacturers are taking the outbreak seriously. So far, there have been five secondary recalls associated with General Mills’ flour. General Mills also posted another recall, this time for Betty Crocker cake mix.

Timeline of Secondary Recalls

The first of the secondary recalls came from Kabob’s Acquisition, Inc., on July 8, 2016. The Lake City, Georgia company issued a recall for 44,850 pounds of raw, not ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. The meat and poultry hors d’oeuvres were recalled after Kabob’s Acquisition received a notice from General Mills that flour used to make their products may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Products affected by the recall were produced between December 8, 2015 and January 15, 2016. These products will have the establishment number “Est. 6640” or “P-6640” located in the USDA mark of inspection. Recalled meat and poultry products were distributed to restaurant and institutional locations across the nation. A full list of recalled products and their information can be found here.

Next, on July 9, 2016, Continental Mills issued a voluntary recall for one flavor of pancake mix under the Krusteaz brand name. The recall includes specific lots of Krusteaz Blueberry Pancake Mix produced between April 2016 and June 2016. The recall was issued because General Mills flour was used in the creation of the product. There is therefore a risk of potential contamination. Two different sizes of pancake mix were recalled. The first was a 28 oz. carton of mix that has a UPC code of 041449001289 and best by date codes between 3/30/2018 and 6/16/2018. The other size is a 3.5 pound bag of pancake mix, which has a UPC code of 041449001289 and best by date codes between 4/27/2018 and 4/28/2018. So far, there have not been any reported cases of E. coli poisoning associated with the recalled products, which were distributed to retail locations nationwide. More information on the Continental recall can be found here.

On July 11, 2016, General Mills posted another recall notice on their website. This time, two flavors of Betty Crocker cake mix have been added to the growing recall in the United States. There has also been a recall of a third Betty Crocker cake mix flavor in Canada. Those flavors involved in the United States recall include Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Party Rainbow Chip Cake Mix and Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Carrot Cake Mix. These products have “Better If Used By Dates” between March 25, 2017 and July 8, 2017. A full list of the recalled products can be found here. In Canada, General Mills has issued a recall for Betty Crocker brand Super Moist Rainbow Bit Cake Mix. There are three “Better if Used by Dates” associated with this variety of cake mix, ranging between April 27, 2017 and June 9, 2017. The full Canadian recall can be found here.

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The recalls continued to be announced. The next recall associated with contaminated General Mills flour was issued on July 12, 2017. Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. issued a voluntary recall that affected almost 6,000 pounds of frozen chicken products. These products are considered not ready-to-eat. Items affected by the recall were produced on January 25, 2016. There are two products affected by the recall, and the first is 5 pound bags of Uncooked Chicken Tenderloin Fritters. The bags were shipped in cases of six, totaling 30 pounds. Each case of recalled chicken has a case code of 31473. A Use-By date of “01/25/17” can be found on recalled products. The second product is 5 pound bags of Uncooked Chicken Breast Tenderloin Fritters. These bags were also shipped in 30 pound cases, each containing 6 bags of chicken. All products subject to recall have the establishment number “P-5837” marked inside of the USDA inspection sticker. Affected chicken was distributed across Arkansas for institutional use. There have been no reports of illness associated with the recalled frozen chicken products.

There was also a second General Mills flour-related recall on July 12, 2016. Kerry Inc., located in Beloit, Wisconsin, issued a voluntary recall for two lots of their Golden Dipt brand name Jalapeno Breaders. The recall comes after news reached Kerry Inc. that two Jalapeno Breader ingredients, jalapeno nuggets and red pepper nuggets, were both made using General Mills flour. The two lots of recalled product were distributed to restaurants and retail locations in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, and parts of Canada. Products affected by the recall were packaged in white 10 pound bags, and have the UPC number 763089721548. Again, only two lots have been affected by the recall, and their lot numbers can be found on the bottom label. Lots affected by the recall include 0414647003 and 0513647003. More information about the recall can be found here.

The most recent of the secondary recalls took place on July 13, 2016. The International Commissary Corporation, or ICC, issued a voluntary recall affecting two sizes of Marie Callender’s brand Cheese Biscuit products. The recall includes a limited number of the 7 oz. and 14 oz. varieties of biscuit mix. Seven oz. packages of the product affected by the recall have the Best Buy Dates of 3/22/17 or 5/17/17. These products were distributed to retail stores in Alabama, California, Washington, Utah, and Texas. Only one Best Buy Date of 14 oz. biscuit mix, 6/17/17, is subject to recall. The recalled 14 oz. packages were distributed only in Stockton, California. No other Best Buy Dates are included in the recall. There have not been any cases of illness associated with this recall as of yet.

Again, all of these products are being recalled in connection with General Mills flour. The flour itself has caused a major E. coli outbreak, and has the potential to spread to more people. This is why the FDA has recommended that if any consumers find recalled products in their homes, they should throw them away immediately. Consuming the recalled flour, or any products it was used in as an ingredient, has the potential to cause an E. coli infection. E. coli poisoning is one of the most common forms of foodborne illness in the United States. The CDC estimates that there are over 265,000 cases of E. coli poisoning each year in the United States. A case of E. coli poisoning. will generally produce symptoms between 1 and 10 days after infection, although usually symptoms will show up between 3 and 4 days after infection. Typically, an E. coli infection will produce symptoms including abdominal cramping, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Between 5 and 10 percent of E. coli infections can produce a serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS damages red blood cells, which in turn can cause kidney damage and even kidney failure. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of E. coli poisoning, contact a medical professional.