U.S. health officials are warning about a salmonella outbreak connected to raw flour that has made several people ill.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced investigators are trying to identify the brand of flour linked to the current outbreak, Today reported Friday.
The agency said, “any raw (unbaked) flour can have germs, like Salmonella. Do not eat or play with uncooked flour, dough, or batter.”
Officials said there have been 12 illnesses and three people were hospitalized. Those incidents occurred across Oregon, California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, and New York.
When informing readers about the outbreak’s source, the CDC explained, “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.”
On its Food Safety page, the agency urged people to avoid consuming raw dough or batter:
Baking is a great way to celebrate special occasions. When making cookies, brownies, cakes, or bread, you might be tempted to taste a bite before it’s fully baked.
But you can get sick after eating or tasting raw (unbaked) dough or batter. Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too.
Salmonella is described as a bacterial disease that is found in a person’s intestinal tract, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through stool (feces). Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food,” the clinic’s website read.
Although some who become infected do not experience symptoms, most suffer from diarrhea, a fever, and stomach cramps within hours after being exposed to the illness.
“Most healthy people recover within a few days to a week without specific treatment,” the clinic noted.
Meanwhile, the CDC recommends people sanitize items that may have come in contact with raw flour while also making sure to wash their hands thoroughly before and after using it.