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Déjà vu All Over Again: General Mills Recalls Its Flour

General Mills is recalling 5-pound bags of flour. Again. This time it’s the unbleached flour with a “better if used-by” date of April 20, 2020. According to silive.com, salmonella was discovered during a sampling process of the products. This is the only flour being recalled at this time, and the UPC number is 000-16000-19610-0. 

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The last time General Mills did this was to recall 10 million pounds of three brands of its flour suspected of being the source of an E. coli contamination that sickened dozens of people in at least 20 U.S. states. Both salmonella and E. coli can cause severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

What’s worse is that both salmonella and E. coli have joined the ranks of “superbugs” — bacteria that have become so antibiotic-resistant that there very few antibiotics left to adequately treat them.

Antimicrobial resistance refers to microorganisms — bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites — that, after exposure to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials and anthelmintics), evolve and become impervious to them.

Nearly 30 percent of the salmonella isolates that can cause illness in humans displayed multidrug resistance, including to sulfonamides (more than 32 percent), tetracyclines (28 percent) and ampicillin (nearly 28 percent). And, one particularly common type of salmonella in humans, monophasic salmonella typhimurium, had “extremely high” multidrug-resistance rates of 81 percent.

Unfortunately, this rash of food contamination and foodborne illnesses isn’t limited to flour. More and more, it’s chicken and turkey and lettuce and, well, you name it — so many food recalls are continually ongoing that you can’t help but wonder when, or if, it will ever stop.

The problem is the threat of antimicrobial resistance is increasing around the globe and, until the world wakes up to the fact that Big Ag industrial practices are the main contributors to these contamination and illness outbreaks, they will continue to happen.

The good news is, together, we can create safer, more sustainable food systems. by supporting your local farmers and choosing fresh, local produce over "cheap" conventional varieties commonly sold in larger grocery chains.

You can also slash your food bill by focusing on locally grown foods that are in season, typically a bargain at that time of year, or by growing some of your own. Remember to choose organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised beef, poultry and dairy, in addition to organic produce.

While many grocery stores now carry organic foods, it's preferable to source yours from local growers whenever possible, as much of the organic food sold in grocery stores is imported.

It is important to understand the impact you have when you spend your money on factory food. Changing your shopping patterns by supporting local agriculture will not only help improve your health, it will also help improve the environment and bring back our rural communities. By supporting local farmers, organic agriculture and sustainable farming practices, we can all benefit.