Another food safety hazard: cake mix

The CDC investigates an epidemic of diseases caused by toxic E. coli most likely caught by commercial cake mixes, among others.

State and local public health officials are asking people about the food they ate the week before they got sick. Of the eight respondents, six (75%) said they tasted or ate raw dough made with cake mix. People said they bought different varieties and brands of cake mixes.

Even so, the cases are linked.

DNA fingerprints are done on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS has shown that bacteria from samples from sick people are closely related genetically. This means that those affected by this outbreak have likely fallen ill from the same food.

The FDA is conducting a trace-back investigation using purchase records from places where sick people have purchased cake mix in an attempt to determine a brand of cake mix or a common production facility.

I guess the source of E. coli is contaminated flour.

This is not the first time that eating raw cake mix has caused illness.

As Food security reports, another cake mix episode happened in 2018, but this time it was Salmonella (maybe eggs?).

He also reports previous incidents with raw flour.

Raw flour and other ingredients can become contaminated individually and then contaminate the entire mixture.

Raw flour has caused two outbreaks in recent years, one in 2016 and the other in 2019.

About 100 people are known to have been ill with E. coli to eat raw flour.

I have already published an article on the safety issues with General Mills flour.

And in 2009, there were problems with E. coli with raw cookie dough; but it was then difficult to determine whether the cause was eggs or flour.

Now the FDA is testing cake mixes to try to identify a common source.

While all of this is happening, the CDC advises:

Eating raw cake batter can make you sick. Raw cake batter may contain harmful germs like E. coli. Germs are only killed when the raw dough is baked or baked. To follow safe food handling useful when cooking with cake mixes, flour and other raw ingredients:

Good advice, and easier to follow with cake mixes than with cookie dough, alas.


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Susan W. Lloyd

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