Author Topic: Flour recalls  (Read 5369 times)

Offline David in MN

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Flour recalls
« on: July 28, 2016, 07:52:19 AM »
OK, there's been a few big public recalls for flour most  notably hitting General Mills. I'm just going to give the facts on flour and do my best to explain.

Flour is not food safe. Period the end. Flour has never gone through a process to make it food safe unless it has been heated or gone through a UV process and their functionality is debated. Flour only becomes safe to eat when YOU cook it to a safe temperature. Whether you bake bread or cookies or fry pancakes or chicken it's your responsibility to cook it and make it safe.

Never, never, never eat raw cookie dough or cake batter. Some ingredients are safe raw. Sugars are generally safe due to low water activity. Acidic foods are also safe(r) in general. Flour has none of these protections. It is moist-ish enough for bacteria (especially if stored in a damp climate) and is pH neutral enough for a contaminant to get a foothold.

But Dave, you eat raw eggs, fish, and even meat.... Yes I do. I go to sushi places I trust, eat raw egg yolks on my steak, and enjoy beef raw from time to time. But here's the rub. I would never eat commercially ground beef raw. I would never take a gulp of raw eggs from a factory that mingled millions together and spit out a jug of blended raw egg. One bad egg spoils it all. One contaminated cut of meat risks the entire lot. This is why you should be choosy about eggs and grind your own meat but I digress.

All flour is wheat that has been mass mingled like the highest risk ground beef. Any contamination is spread through the system. This means that wheat with bacteria on it from Kansas (arbitrarily picked nothing against Kansas) is mixed with clean wheat from Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, etc. You get how this is spreads like wildfire.

Flour mills are usually "dry". They frequently don't have an in-place wet clean process ready to go. In short, they aren't good at cleaning once a problem is found. Pathogens can be more persistent.

One more log on the fire. Don't think you're safe by buying a different brand. I've been to a few mills in the states and they stack the top 10 brands next to each other. Flour is a commodity that is expensive to ship. You a spec for your flour (white/red, protein, ash, falling number, etc.) and any mill in the world can copy your flour. I can tell you that not all of General Mills' recall is General Mills flour. Some of it is coming from Mennell if they are still using the supply chain from when I worked there.

Don't eat raw flour. I know we licked the batters as kids when our parents made cake but it's not safe.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Flour recalls
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 08:31:32 AM »
Don't eat raw flour. I know we licked the batters as kids when our parents made cake but it's not safe.

Yeah, wait for the frosting instead.

Just kidding (sort of) but I totally agree.  By its very nature, it's going to be problematic.  But it also should be fine (at least in this instance) if you just bake with it like most people do.  Every case they had was with raw dough or batter, which you should avoid eating anyway.

Offline Beetle

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Re: Flour recalls
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 11:57:36 AM »
Great info +1.

Offline r_w

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Re: Flour recalls
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 04:38:08 PM »
Farmers often harvest as wet as they are allowed--it does less damage to the crop and are usually in a hurry to get it out of the field.  Sometimes it is too wet and they just take the price penalty because they are on a schedule (second crop has to go in, rain in the forecast, harvesting team is leaving, etc.  That should mix in and average out if only a couple loads out of the day are like that, but if everyone does it they will get wet grain or wet spots in the bin that will create potential hotspots for mold and other toxins.

I remember when I was young and first realized there was ZERO difference in how grain was handled whether for animal or human consumption.   :jaw-drop:

The food system is so fragile it amazes me there hasn't been a collapse already.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Flour recalls
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2016, 08:05:02 AM »
+1 good info

Offline DrJohn

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Re: Flour recalls
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2016, 07:15:18 AM »
One of the few times I was happy to be GF!