How an E. Coli Outbreak Happens (3:08)
Don’t take another lick of that oh-so-sweet vanilla cupcake batter — Duncan Hines’ parent company, Conagra Brands, is voluntarily recalling four types of its cake mix due to a possible Salmonella contamination.
After five cases of Salmonella were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC used DNA analysis to match the strain of Salmonella collected from the sick individuals to a sample of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix, which contained Salmonella Agbeni. While the cake mix hasn’t been definitively linked to the outbreak, Conagra Brands is taking precautions, removing about 2.4 million boxes of the Classic White, Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti, and Classic Yellow varieties made during the same time period off store shelves. The five cases from Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin involve the 15.25-ounce packaged mixes with a “Best If Used By” date between March 7, 2019, and March 13, 2019, and “several of the individuals reported consuming a cake mix at some point prior to becoming ill, and some may have also consumed these products raw and not baked,” the FDA stated. “Consumers are reminded not to consume any raw batter.”
No matter how decadent freshly-whipped cake or brownie batter tastes, resist the temptation to dive into it spoon first before it’s fully baked. Powdered mixes may have been made with eggs, flour, and other ingredients that can carry harmful bacteria, like Salmonella, that become innocuous only after baking, frying, or boiling, according to the FDA. Each year, the organism causes about 1.2 million illnesses with symptoms like diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting, which usually appear 12 to 72 hours after contact and last only four to seven days. Still, 23,000 hospitalizations occur annually because the diarrhea becomes severe or the bacteria makes its way into the bloodstream. Luckily, you can still have your cake and eat it, too: toss any cake mix with the aforementioned expiration date in the trash or return it to the store where it was originally purchased, preheat the oven, and start whipping up your own treat from scratch.
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