General Mills Is Recalling More Than 600,000 Pounds of Gold Medal Flour Over E. Coli Risk

jirkaejc/iStock via Getty Images
jirkaejc/iStock via Getty Images

The FDA recently shared news of a 2019 product recall that could impact home bakers. As CNN reports, General Mills is voluntarily recalling 600,000 pounds of its Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour due to a possible E. coli contamination.

The decision to pull the flour from shelves was made after a routine test of the 5-pound bags. According to a company statement, "the potential presence of E. coli O26" was found in the sample, and even though no illnesses have been connected to Gold Medal flour, General Mills is recalling it to be safe.

Escherichia coli O26 is a dangerous strain of the E. coli bacterium that's often spread through commercially processed foods. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Most patients recover within a week, but in people with vulnerable immune systems like young children and seniors, the complications can be deadly.

To avoid the potentially contaminated batch, look for Gold Medal flour bags with a "better if used by" date of September 6, 2020 and the package UPC 016000 196100. All other products sold under the Gold Medal label are safe to consume.

Whether or not the flour in your pantry is affected, the recall is a good reminder that consuming raw flour can be just as harmful as eating raw eggs. So when you're baking cookies, resist having a taste until after they come out of the oven—or indulge in one of the many edible cookie dough products on the market instead.

[h/t CNN]

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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Romaine Lettuce Recalled After Another National E. Coli Outbreak

TomFoldes/iStock via Getty Images
TomFoldes/iStock via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a food safety alert cautioning people against eating any romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, due to potential E. coli contamination. According to NBC Washington, 67 cases of E. coli have been reported so far, and 39 people have been hospitalized.

The recall applies to any product that contains Salinas-grown romaine lettuce, including whole heads or hearts of romaine, organic or baby romaine, salad wraps with romaine, and packages of pre-cut lettuce or salad mixes with romaine.

In a statement, the CDC explained that most romaine lettuce products name the harvest location on the label, which might be printed on a sticker or directly on the packaging. You should toss all romaine products grown in Salinas, as well as anything that doesn’t specify a harvest location at all. If you’re not sure if there’s romaine in your salad mix or wrap, don’t take the chance—throw it out. However, no cases have been linked to hydroponic or greenhouse-grown romaine, so anything labeled “indoor grown” is technically still safe to eat.

Though the CDC is also advising restaurants and retailers to exercise the same caution and get rid of any romaine that might be from Salinas, it’s best for consumers to look at the labels in stores themselves or double-check with restaurant employees just to make sure.

You should also thoroughly clean and disinfect any parts of your refrigerator where you’ve stored romaine lettuce, to prevent bacteria from hitching a ride on your delicious Thanksgiving leftovers.

And, even if you live several states away from California, there’s still a pretty good chance that Salinas-grown romaine is shipped to your region—the E. coli cases have been reported in 19 states across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Food and Drug Administration is still investigating the outbreak, but it has been confirmed that this particular strain of bacteria, E. coli O157:H7, is the same one responsible for recalls of leafy greens and romaine lettuce in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

[h/t NBC Washington]