One kind of prepackaged flour with possible E. coli contamination

Issue Date 27.7.2016
Source of Information

The United States Food and Drug Administration

Food Product

Prepackaged flour

Product Name and Description

Product name: Gold Medal Unbleached Flour
Net weight: Five pounds per pack
Use-by date: August 20, 2017

Reason For Issuing Alert

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) earlier advised the public to stop consuming and the trade to stop selling certain batches of prepackaged flour produced by an American manufacturer, General Mills Inc, which had been imported into Hong Kong as the products might be contaminated with E. coli.

The CFS, through its routine Food Incident Surveillance System, noted a further announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration that the American manufacturer concerned is expanding its recall to include more batches of the affected product.

The CFS immediately followed up and preliminary investigation found that the sole agent of the product concerned in Hong Kong, General Mills Hong Kong Limited, had imported a batch of the affected product.

People can contract E. coli causing gastro-intestinal disease through consumption of contaminated water or undercooked and contaminated foods. Intestinal bleeding and serious complications such as hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) may also develop in some people. Moreover, due to poor personal hygiene, person-to-person transmission of this pathogen is possible through oral-faecal route. E. coli cannot survive under high temperature and can be killed by thorough cooking.

Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety

According to the information provided by the sole agent, the import quantity of the product concerned was 36 cartons (eight packs per carton), which had already been distributed to local vendors. The CFS is tracing the distribution of the affected product.

The CFS has instructed the sole agent to stop selling the affected product and initiate a recall.

For the sake of prudence, the CFS has also contacted other major local importers and preliminary investigation showed that no other affected product had been found available for sale.

The CFS will alert the trade, continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up action. Investigation is ongoing.

Advice to the Trade

Stop using or selling the product concerned immediately.

Advice to Consumers

Not to consume the affected product.

Refrain from consuming any raw dough or batter products.

Further Information

The CFS press release

Members of the public may call the company's hotline at 2629 7766 for enquiries during office hours about the recall.

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department