All are adults living in Ingham, Kent, Oakland and Ottawa counties, the state Department of Health and Human Services announced today.
General Mills flour has sickened 38 people in 20 states as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 10 people across the country have landed in hospitals, though no kidney failure or deaths have been reported.
On Tuesday, the Minneapolis-based food manufacturer recalled some of its Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens flours due to the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121). The problem is believed to have originated from a Kansas City, Mo., factory.
?The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said it's conducting recall audit checks at grocery stores, convenience stores, and other places throughout the state to make sure the recalled flour is off store shelves.
"We're urging all residents to follow the CDC recommendations when it comes to handling food and making sure that they dispose of recalled flour.," HHS spokeswoman Jennifer Eisner said.
Contamination can happen at any point during the manufacturing process, said Michelle Jarvie, a Michigan State University Extension food safety educator in Mackinac County.
"If bacteria get into the factory and are on machinery or a person carrying those bacteria is working there. It can happen at anytime during handling of food," she said. "Is the flour on your hand, on the counter, on your utensils? It becomes more of an issue of cross-contamination."
Consumers should clean all kitchen implements and surfaces with soapy water after baking, avoid eating raw dough and don't let children play with raw dough.
"Seek out the manufacturer's recommendations. A lot of stores will take it back for you and dispose of it purposely. If you use it accidentally, cook everything thoroughly," Jarvie added. "If you put a measuring cup in flour, give it a good wash before putting it in the sugar bin, because you'd be spreading it around."
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea and stomach cramps and usually show up two to eight days after ingestion, the CDC said. Most people get better within a week.
"As a leading provider of flour for 150 years, we felt it was important to not only recall the product and replace it for consumers if there was any doubt, but also to take this opportunity to remind our consumers how to safely handle flour," Liz Nordlie, president of General Mills Baking division, said in a written statement Tuesday.
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