Some 12,500 cases of 5-pound bags of Pillsbury Unbleached All Purpose Flour have been recalled because of possible salmonella contamination. This information was posted on the websites of two supermarket chains, Publix and Winn-Dixie, which said that the product was recalled by the parent company of Pillsbury baking products, the Hometown Food Company.

Hometown Food later put out a release, (PDF) noting that the recall is voluntary and being made with the full knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  

Flour marked with two lot codes are involved in the recall: 8 292 and 8 293, representing about 100,000 bags of flour. The packages carry a best-if-used-by date of April 19, 2020 or April 20, 2020.

The announcement on the Publix website said the flour was "distributed through a limited number of retailers and distributors nationwide."

"We've been in touch with every direct customer it has gone to," Hometown Food chief operating officer, Dan Anglemyer, said. But he was hesitant to give the names of the retailers that received the flour because "it [the flour] can go through a distributor that works with other retailers." There have been no reports of illness, he said.

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If you have this flour at home, you should throw it away and call the company at 800-767-4466 to get a replacement coupon. You can also return it to the store where you purchased it for a refund.

If you store your flour in a canister and aren't sure whether it's the Pillsbury Unbleached All Purpose Flour involved in the recall, you should throw it away. Thoroughly clean any flour containers before using them again. Make sure to wash out all nooks and crannies, because flour particles can linger in hard-to-reach places.

Anglemyer said that the salmonella was detected in tests the company ran in lot code 8 292, and that the company was including lot code 8 293 in the recall "out of an abundance of caution."

"It's unfortunate. We try to be as cautious as possible," Anglemyer said. "We apologize for any inconvenience."

Flour can be contaminated with bacteria that cause foodborne illness, such as salmonella, often in the fields where the wheat is grown. (In January, General Mills recalled 5-pound bags of Gold Medal Unbleached Flour for possible contamination with salmonella.) "That's one reason why you shouldn't consume raw batter or cookie dough," says James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food-safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. Cooking or baking will kill the bacteria.

The key symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and sometimes vomiting. Call your doctor if you have a fever of 101.5° F or higher, bloody diarrhea, or severe dehydration. 

The Details

Products recalled: 5-pound bags of Pillsbury Unbleached All Purpose Flour with lot codes 8 292 and 8 293, and a best-if-used-by date of April 19, 2020 or April 20, 2020.

The problem: The flour may be contaminated with salmonella.

The fix: Consumers should discard the flour and call the company for a replacement coupon, or return it to the store where purchased for a refund.

How to contact the manufacturer: Call 800-767-4466.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect new information on the release of an announcement by Hometown Food and a correction on the best-if-used-by dates. A previous version of this story listed the best-if-used-by date as April 19, 2020. The correct best-if-used-by dates are April 19, 2020 and April 20, 2020. 

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