General Mills E. Coli Recall Widens

We talk to Westchester grocers about whether products are off shelves and what procedures are in place

It’s been a staggering summer for Minneapolis-based food giant General Mills, who’ve experienced a Chipotle-like outbreak of E. coli cases directly connected to their products over the past two months. Back in May, the Minneapolis-based food giant recalled close to 10 million pounds of its Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour brands after 38 customers across 20 states—including one in New York—reported occurrences of E. coli (though according to General Mills, they all stemmed from consumption or direct contact with uncooked flour or dough). Then, on July 1, the recall was expanded after further reports of related illnesses. Just 10 days later, Betty Crocker cake-mix varieties were included in the roundup.  And yesterday, the multinational manufacturer responded to four more reported illnesses by expanding its recall of select Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flours to account for bags produced up through Feb. 10.  Overall, there have been 46 reported E. coli cases since the May announcement, with 13 people having been hospitalized and one apparently experiencing kidney failure.

However, while many county supermarkets received notice of the initial recall in May, several local stores have not yet been instructed to take action regarding the latest news. “Usually, we’ll receive notification from the warehouse on what products need to be taken off the shelves,” explains Cosmo Napolitano, store manager for DeCicco Family Markets’ Katonah location. “But that hasn’t happened yet.” Zaryl Sanchez, assistant store manager for DeCicco & Sons in Armonk, confirms that he has yet to be alerted about Monday’s development, saying that typically, “Our warehouse would call us or send us a letter on what to do, if we should send the product back or how we should dispose of it.”

Similar calls revealed that neither the Greenway Plaza ShopRite in Yonkers nor the Super Stop & Shop on Westchester Avenue in White Plains have received specific directions pertaining to the expanded recall. Meanwhile, a store manager at C-Town in Tarrytown who asked not to be named stated they actually have been informed of the recall, and assured patrons that “none of what’s being recalled is on our shelves.”

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Area residents who think they may have purchased the aforementioned products in recent weeks should check their pantries and save the bar code and Better if Used By Date to receive a replacement coupon. We will continue to update this story as we have more information.





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