(MENAFN) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that flour is believed to be the source of a multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened about a dozen people and hospitalized three. The outbreak has affected individuals in California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia. The first illness was reported in early December 2022, and state and local public health officials are currently investigating the foods consumed by those who fell ill. Of the 7 people interviewed, 6 reported eating raw dough or batter, and flour was the only common ingredient in the raw dough or batter.
It is not yet clear what brand the outbreak could be related to, and investigators are working to identify a specific brand of raw flour linked to the illnesses. As most flour is raw, meaning it hasn't been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning, when it is mixed into dough or batter and baked, salmonella germs are killed in the process. However, people can get sick from consuming raw dough or batter.
The CDC has warned that the true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. While no deaths have been linked to the outbreak at this time, the agency recommends that people avoid eating raw dough or batter, as even small amounts can cause illness. Additionally, baked goods should be prepared according to instructions to ensure that germs are fully killed. This warning is in effect even when there is not an outbreak.
To avoid illness, the CDC advises using heat-treated flour, which is not raw, as a substitute in recipes for homemade playdough or in raw goods. The agency's investigation is ongoing, and it continues to work with partners to identify the source of the outbreak and prevent further illnesses.
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