With yet another major recall of a food production staple in the past month, this time for flour, we thought we should revisit how the MN certified food manager can keep the food safe in an industry where there are times when the safety of the food supply is uncertain.
MN Certified Food Manager and Voluntary Product Recalls
One of the unique aspects of the recall of flour produced by General Mills is that the recall is being labeled as “voluntary.” Statistics from an E.coli outbreak with cases dating back to December 2015 indicate that many of those sickened had consumed products made with certain brands of flour distributed by General Mills. There is also evidence that many of those sickened had eaten some form of raw cookie dough or uncooked product containing flour. At last report, there have been no traces of E.coli found at the processing facilities where the flour is distributed, but we still think it is wise to err on the side of caution in this case.
According to Food Safety News, this recall may extend further than just grocery stores, restaurants and retailers. Some of the potentially contaminated product may have been shipped to bulk suppliers. In order to ensure that your flour is safe to use in baked goods, we suggest you take the following steps:
- Contact your supplier to see if your flour is produced by General Mills
- Never serve food product that contains uncooked flour
- Return or throw away any product that has been affected by the recall
Most major ingredient suppliers should know where your product comes from. Many times, major manufacturers produce the same product for retail and bulk sales under different labels. This means that there is a chance that you have a recalled product in your inventory that is packaged under a different brand name. In this case, diligence is important to ensure that you do not serve contaminated product.
Due to the nature of the way grain is harvested and flour is produced, one can never assume that it is always safe to consume. All products that contain flour should be cooked to kill any bacteria that could possibly exist. Most bread products, baked goods and sauces thickened with flour should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees or more to make sure any traces of E.coli have been destroyed.
Finally, if you do have a contaminated batch of flour that is listed in the recall notice issued by the FDA. Do not hesitate to throw it away immediately. It is better to be safe than to sicken one of your customers.