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BCCDC advises British Columbians about a new outbreak of E. coli O121 associated with flour

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​Vancouver – The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is alerting British Columbians after six people in BC were infected with the same strain of E. coli O121 between February and April, 2017.  

A sample of flour from one of the ill people was tested by the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory. The flour was positive for the same strain of E. coli O121 as seen in all the illnesses.

While it is unknown at this time whether the other ill people consumed the same flour, the BCCDC recommends consumers:

  • Dispose of Rogers all-purpose flour in a 10kg bag with the lot number MFD 17 Jan 19 C.  This flour was available to Costco customers in BC beginning in January 2017.
The outbreak serves as a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough, batter or foods containing raw or undercooked flour (e.g. raw frozen pastries or doughs) regardless of the type of flour used, and that surfaces that come into contact with raw flour should be thoroughly washed as flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Although this outbreak is occurring at the same time as a national outbreak involving a different strain of E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flours and flour products, it is unclear whether there is a link between the two outbreaks.

Anyone who becomes ill with vomiting and diarrhea after consuming raw dough, batter or flour products is advised to consult their physician, or call the nurse line at 811.   


The BC Centre for Disease Control, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides public health leadership through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre provides diagnostic and treatment services for people with diseases of public health importance, and analytical and policy support to all levels of government and health authorities. The BCCDC also provides health promotion and prevention services to reduce the burden of chronic disease and preventable injury. For more, visit www.bccdc.ca  or follow us on Twitter @CDCofBC.

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.


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