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Ardent Mills flour recall expanded

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is expanding a recall for the Robin Hood brand of all-purpose flour sold in Canada due to possible E. coli contamination. (CFIA photo)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is expanding a recall for the Robin Hood brand of all-purpose flour sold in Canada due to possible E. coli contamination. (CFIA photo)

More than a baker's dozen of flour products have been pulled from grocery store shelves.

As of April 16, Ardent Mills recalled 16 varieties of Robin Hood and Creative Baker flour from stores across Canada with a wide range of product codes and package sizing.

"As a result of the food-safety investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) identified additional products that could pose a health risk. Those products have now been added to the updated recall warning," CFIA spokesperson Maria Kubacki said on Monday.

"The CFIA is warning the public not to consume these products," she added. "If consumers have any of the recalled products in their home, they should throw them out or return them to the store where they purchased them."

On its website, Ardent Mills said it is co-operating with CFIA's food safety inspection and direction to expand the flour-products recall.

"Ardent Mills is aware of one illness associated with the consumption of flour, and thankfully that person has fully recovered," the company said in a press release. "There have been no illnesses reported with the products subject to the April 12 and 16 voluntary recalls."

The company noted it is committed to doing all it can to provide ingredients that make safe, healthy and good tasting products.

But it does add that "flour is a raw agriculture commodity made from wheat, which is grown outdoors where bacteria and microbes, such as E. coli O121, are often present."

The release seems to suggest that because there is no heat process used to cure the wheat, it remains possible that E. coli O121 can still be harboured in the product until it is cooked.

"The normal milling process uses the simple, time-honoured traditions that were invented more than 100 years ago. Today's mills, however, have significantly improved food safety. Nonetheless, neither the original process nor today's process contain a kill step to eliminate microbes, such as E. coli O121 that may originate with the wheat. Common kill steps applied during food preparation include thoroughly boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving and frying. These so called kill steps will render the microbes or bacteria harmless."

Initially, only 10-kilogram bags of Robin Hood All Purpose Flour with code BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548 that were sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were considered to have been possibly contaminated with E-coli.

But as of April 4, the Public Health Agency of Canada opened the recall up to be one of national concern.

As of Sunday, Robin Hood bags of varying sizes containing the following codes are being recalled:

Lot codes:

BB/MA 2018 FE 02 and 6 307 548

BB/MA 2018 FE 03 and 6 308 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 26 and 6 300 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 26 and 6 300 548

BB/MA 2018 JA 24 and 6 298 548

BB/MA 2018 JA 25 and 6 299 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 25 and 6 299 548

BB/MA 2017 AU 25 and 6 299 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 27 and 6 301 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 28 and 6 302 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 28 and 6 307 548

BB/MA 2018 AL 29 and 6 303 548

Additionally, Creative Baker All Purpose Flour, 10-kg bags with lot code BB/MA 2017 OC 26 6 300 SK is also being recalled.

For more recall information, visit this Canadian Food Inspection Agency recall link.

CBrowne@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/cherylbrowne1