Six people in B.C. have been infected with the same strain of E. coli and the BC Centre for Disease Control is urging residents to throw out any flour that may be contaminated.
A sample of flour from one of the ill people was tested by the BCCDC public health laboratory and came back positive for the same strain of E. coli O121 as seen in the illnesses, according to a press release Friday.
BCCDC is advising anyone who purchased 10 kilogram bags of Rogers all-purpose flour with the lot number MFD 17 Jan 19 C to dispose of it. The flour was available at Costco stores across the province beginning in January.
While it is unknown at this time whether the other ill people consumed the same flour, the BCCDC recommends that consumers don’t take any chances with raw flour.
“The outbreak serves as a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough, batter or foods containing raw or undercooked flour (e.g. raw frozen pastries or doughs) regardless of the type of flour used, and that surfaces that come into contact with raw flour should be thoroughly washed as flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria,” BCCDC said.
At this time it is also unknown if there’s any link to the outbreak in B.C. to another national outbreak involving a different strain of E. coli.
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Anyone who becomes ill with vomiting and diarrhea after consuming raw dough, batter or flour products is advised to consult their physician, or call the nurse line at 811.