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Seriously, eating raw dough is not a good idea

By Bill Marler on 27 May 2019












Flour linked again to an E. coli outbreak and has been a suspected vector in other outbreaks.

I know, I am a downer on fun foods.


Confirmed Flour E. coli Outbreaks:

ALDI Outbreak: As of May 24, 2019, 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 have been reported from 8 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 11, 2018 to April 18, 2019. Ill people range in age from 7 to 86 years, with a median age of 23. Sixty-five percent of ill people are female. Of 17 people with information available, 3 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.


Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that flour is a likely source of this outbreak.


In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of seven people who were interviewed, four (57%) reported eating, licking, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter. Two people with detailed information reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour or baking mixes from ALDI.


Investigators with the Rhode Island Department of Health collected records and flour samples at a bakery where an ill person reported eating raw dough. Records indicated that the bakery used Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour from ALDI. The outbreak strain was isolated from an unopened bag of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour collected at the bakery.


General Mills Outbreak: As of September 29, 2016, sixty-three people infected with the outbreak strains of STEC O121 or STEC O26 were reported from 24 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 21, 2015 to September 5, 2016. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 95, with a median age of 18. Seventy-six percent of ill people were female. Seventeen ill people were hospitalized. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths were reported.


Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri was the likely source of this outbreak.


Suspected Flour E. coli Outbreaks:

Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough Outbreak: As of Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 72 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported from 30 states. Of these, 51 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; these confirmatory test results are pending on the others. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado (6), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (1), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (2), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (2), Maine (3), Minnesota (6), Missouri (1), Montana (1), North Carolina (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Texas (3), Utah (4), Virginia (2), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (1). Ill persons range in age from 2 to 65 years; however, 65% are less than 19 years old; 71% are female. Thirty-four persons have been hospitalized, 10 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS); none have died. Reports of these infections increased above the expected baseline in May and continue into June.


In an epidemiologic study, ill persons answered questions about foods consumed during the days before becoming ill and investigators compared their responses to those of persons of similar age and gender previously reported to State Health Departments with other illnesses. Preliminary results of this investigation indicate a strong association with eating raw prepackaged cookie dough. Most patients reported eating refrigerated prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough products raw. On June 29, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that a culture of a sample of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough currently under recall yielded E. coliO157:H7. The contaminated sample was collected at the firm on June 25, 2009. Further laboratory testing is underway to determine whether the E. coli strain in the product matched the strain causing the outbreak.


Totino’s or Jeno’s Brand Frozen Pizza Outbreak: As of November 1 2007, at least 21 isolates of E. coli O157:H7 with an indistinguishable genetic fingerprint have been collected from ill persons in 10 states: Illinois (1 person), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (8), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1). Persons became ill between July 20, 2007, and October 10, 2007. The age of ill persons’ ranges from 1 to 65 years with a median age of 9; 53% of ill persons are female. At least 8 people have been hospitalized, and 4 have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS. No deaths have been reported.


The Tennessee State Department of Health, working with CDC and health officials in several other states, coordinated a study to identify the source of these infections. Eating a Totino’s or Jeno’s brand frozen pizza containing pepperoni was significantly associated with illness. The source of contamination of the pizzas is not known at this time. Company officials are working closely with CDC, USDA-FSIS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state health and agricultural departments to identify the source of the contamination. General Mills has ceased shipment of all frozen pizza products that contain pepperoni and has announced a voluntary recall.


Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $650 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.


If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

  • About E. coli – a complete online resource with information on symptoms and risks of E. coli infection
  • Marler Clark E. coli Lawsuits and Litigation
  • A downloadable Family Health Guide on E. coli (PDF)
  • About Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome


This Article was republished with the permission of Bill Marler and the Original Article can be viewed here:

https://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/seriously-eating-raw-dough-is-not-a-good-idea/