- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ended its investigation of the General Mills' E. coli-contaminated flour recall, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- FDA identified the contaminated flour back in June, after General Mills began a voluntary recall in May. The recall then expanded over the next few months to other brands and countries.
- Because flour has a long shelf life, this may not be the end of illness reports related to the company's flour brands, even though the agency's investigation is over.
The FDA, CDC and state and local officials investigated this multi-state and multi-country E. coli outbreak. FDA also published materials for consumers about consumption of raw dough, because that is out of manufacturers' hands.
As General Mills and the FDA see it, consumers should not be eating raw dough though such a habit is common, if not ingrained, in cultural experiences. But eating raw dough leaves people at risk because they could have been fine if they'd eaten the dough after they'd cooked it and burned off the bacteria. Considering this massive recall, as well as a recent—and unrelated—recall of Blue Bell cookie dough ice cream because of listeria discovered in the dough hunks, maybe the raw dough craze will wane.
A spokesman for General Mills said the company had used the outbreak and recall as a "teaching tool," according to a news release. That's an interesting response, but the company has demonstrated how transparent a recall and food operations can be when things are under control.