The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is alerting British Columbians after six people in BC were infected with the same strain of E. coli O121 between February and April, 2017.
A sample of flour from one of the ill people was tested by the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory. The flour was positive for the same strain of E. coli O121 as seen in all the illnesses.
While it is unknown at this time whether the other ill people consumed the same flour, the BCCDC recommends consumers:
- Dispose of Rogers all-purpose flour in a 10kg bag with the lot number MFD 17 Jan 19 C. This flour was available to Costco customers in BC beginning in January 2017.
In a letter from Rogers Foods Ltd. Saturday, they note that the agency has not recommended a recall and advise consumers to abide by BCCDC recommendations on disposal of the product and lot in question.
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.
Although this outbreak is occurring at the same time as a national outbreak involving a different strain of E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flours and flour products, it is unclear whether there is a link between the two outbreaks.
The national outbreak has affected 30 people from six provinces: British Columbia (13), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1), Quebec (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 30 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to April 2017.
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