There's an active investigation regarding a Salmonella outbreak in 11 states that may be linked to flour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With 12 illnesses and 3 hospitalizations connected to this outbreak, most people affected reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour before they got sick. The states currently impacted by this contamination are California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia.
While investigators are looking to identify a specific brand that is causing the illnesses, there is no current recall. Flour should never be eaten raw, as it can be contaminated with organisms like Salmonella that can cause foodborne illness, but flour is safe to eat when cooked or baked.
Those infected with Salmonella bacteria may experience common symptoms like diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms can start anywhere from six hours to six days after consuming the bacteria, and they can last up to five days.
Salmonella infection is not typically life-threatening, but it can be especially harmful for young children, adults 65 years and older and for people with compromised immune systems. While most people infected with Salmonella can recover without treatment, those in vulnerable groups may experience more severe symptoms that require medical oversight.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms after eating raw dough or batter, or if your child is experiencing symptoms after playing with raw dough or clay that contains flour, call your health care provider as soon as possible. Salmonella can quickly be spread to other people, objects and surfaces, so thoroughly wash any bowls, utensils and work surfaces that may have been exposed to raw flour with warm water and soap. Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling raw flour, dough and batter.