Research – What is the History of Outbreaks Linked to Flour?

Food Poisoning Bulletin

With the newest identified outbreak on the FDA CORE Outbreak Investigation Table a Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to flour, the question arises: What is the history of outbreaks linked to flour?

Because flour is dry and seems so inert, many people assume that it could not harbor pathogens. But flour is a raw agricultural product, and can be contaminated in the field by birds and animals, during harvest, during transportation, and during processing. Many pathogens can survive with very little water. And no “kill step,” that is, heating the grain to a temperature high enough to destroys pathogens, is used when flour is processed.

That’s why food safety experts warn consumers to be careful handling flour, and to avoid eating raw cookie dough and cake batter made with untreated flour. While you can buy heat-treated flour, a Purdue researcher says that home treated flour may not be safe.

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