Multi-State Flour Outbreak

April 11, 2023
Raw Flour

By: OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences on April 4, 2023

Ohio is one of several states involved in an ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to flour. At this time, a specific flour brand has not been identified. Raw (uncooked) flour is often consumed when raw dough or batter is eaten; refrain from consuming batter or “no-bake” recipes that have raw flour as an ingredient. Children can get sick from playing with raw flour as a kitchen activity, or when raw flour is used for crafts. 

Flour is a raw agricultural product. Although flour doesn’t look like a raw food, most flour is actually raw because it hasn't been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli). (CDC, 2022). These harmful germs are killed only when flour is baked or cooked (CDC, 2022).

And if you didn't know, flour is not treated in the factory to destroy (potentially) harmful pathogens such as E. coli. (PennSate Extension, 2023). 

This information may seem startling, and consumers are correct to be concerned, but following the simple practices of separating raw food from cooked food, washing your hands many times throughout the food preparation process, and properly cooking food before tasting it are easy steps to follow to keep your friends and family healthy (PennSate Extension, 2023). 

Call your local healthcare provider right away if you or your child have (CDC, 2023):

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Not peeing much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up

For more information, check out these resources:

https://extension.psu.edu/uncooked-flour-a-hazardous...

https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/infantis-03-23/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/foods.../communication/no-raw-dough.html

References

Hirneisen, Andy. 2023. Uncooked Flour: A Hazardous Ingredient? Penn State Extension, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, https://extension.psu.edu/uncooked-flour-a-hazardous-ingredient.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023. Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Flour. Food Safety, https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/infantis-03-23/index.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022. Say No to Raw Dough. Food Safetyhttps://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/no-raw-dough.html.