A Salmonella Outbreak Is Being Linked to Flour — Here’s What You Need to Know

published Apr 3, 2023
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Flour in mixing bowl
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to the dangers of eating raw cookie dough. While most people point to the raw eggs in cookie dough for salmonella potential, there’s actually another potential culprit — the flour. 

U.S. health officials are currently investigating a Salmonella Infantis outbreak likely linked to raw flour, although the brand at fault remains a mystery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted that they have identified 12 illnesses reported and three hospitalizations between December 6 and February 13 in 11 states, including Oregon, California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and New York. Among those interviewed, many reported eating raw dough or batter with flour as the only common ingredient. 

Moving forward, the CDC has issued some advice to help thwart any further illnesses. As any raw (or unbaked) flour can contain germs like salmonella (in 2019, Pillsbury recalled its Unbleached All Purpose Flour products), to stay safe, don’t eat or play with uncooked flour, dough, or batter. 

Other advice stemming from this outbreak includes following the recipe or package instructions precisely in terms of temperature and cooking time for cooking or baking flour; washing your hands, bowls, utensils, and surfaces that came in contact with raw flour with warm water and soap; and keeping raw flour, dough, and batter separate from other foods.

Flour not only has a place in the kitchen for baking and cooking, but it also provides a great sensory experience for children during playtime. Whether it’s just dumped on a plate or made into raw playdough used for crafts, in these cases, the CDC suggests buying heat-treated flour.

Wondering what other recalls and public health alerts have been issued lately from your favorite brands? Check out this page that’s updated regularly to stay in the know.