As of May 24, 2019, 17 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 have been reported from 8 states.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 11, 2018 to April 18, 2019. Ill people range in age from 7 to 86 years, with a median age of 23. Sixty-five percent of ill people are female. Of 17 people with information available, 3 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported
Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to three weeks.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that flour is a likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of seven people who were interviewed, four (57%) reported eating, licking, or tasting raw, homemade dough or batter. Two people with detailed information reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour or baking mixes from ALDI.
Investigators with the Rhode Island Department of Health collected records and flour samples at a bakery where an ill person reported eating raw dough. Records indicated that the bakery used Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour from ALDI. The outbreak strain was isolated from an unopened bag of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour collected at the bakery.
WGS results showed that the E. coli O26 strain identified in the Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour sample was closely related genetically to the E. coli O26 strain identified in ill people. These results provide additional evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from eating flour.
On May 23, 2019, ALDI, in association with ADM Milling Co., recalled 5 lb. bags of Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour sold at retail locations in the following states because they may be contaminated with E. coli: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachussetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
This investigation is ongoing. FDA is working to determine whether other brands or lots of flour may be potentially contaminated and need to be recalled.