Salmonella outbreak linked to flour

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a Salmonella outbreak reaching 11 states. So far, Mississippi hasn’t had any cases in this outbreak, but incidents have been reported coast to coast. There have been 12 cases caused by flour in 11 states with three requiring hospitalizations.

Flour doesn’t look like a raw food, but most flour is raw. This means that it hasn’t been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning. Any raw (unbaked) flour used to make dough or batter can be contaminated with germs like Salmonella, but Salmonella germs are killed when flour is cooked or baked. One can get sick after eating or tasting raw dough or batter. Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay.

According to the CDC, most people reported eating raw dough or batter made with flour before they got sick. Flour was the only common ingredient in the raw dough or batter people reported eating. Investigators are working to identify a specific brand of flour linked to illnesses.

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Symptoms of Salmonella include:

Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the bacteria.

Most people recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days.

Some people—especially children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems—may experience more severe illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization.

The CDC offers the following tips:

  • Do not eat raw dough or batter – even a small amount can make you or your child sick
  • Bake or cook food made with raw flour, like cookie dough or cake batter, before eating it.
  • Follow the recipe or package instructions for cooking or baking. Use the temperature and cooking time given in the recipe or instructions.
  • Buy heat-treated flour to use in recipes for homemade playdough.


  • Wash any bowls, utensils, and surfaces that touched raw flour with warm water and soap.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after using raw flour.


  • Keep raw flour, dough, and batter separate from foods that won’t be cooked.

Call a healthcare provider right away if you or your child have:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
  • Not peeing much
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Feeling dizzy when standing up