NOTTINGHAM, MD—An E. coli outbreak has sickened 16 people in 12 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak has also been linked to 7 hospitalizations.
The CDC says sick people in this outbreak reported tasting or eating raw cake batter made from a variety of cake mixes. A single brand or type of cake mix has not been linked to the illnesses.
Seventy-five percent of sick people are children under 18 years of age. Children are more likely to have a severe E. coli infection.
Eating raw cake batter can make you sick. Raw cake batter can contain harmful germs like E. coli. Germs are killed only when raw batter is baked or cooked.
Follow safe food handling practices when you are baking and cooking with cake mixes, flour, and other raw ingredients:
- Do not taste or eat any raw batter, whether it is from a homemade recipe or from a mix.
- Do not let children eat raw batter. Foodborne illnesses can be more serious for children.
- Bake or cook raw batter before eating.
- Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking at the proper temperature and for the specified time.
- Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw foods such as cake mix, flour, or eggs.
- Keep raw foods such as cake mix, flour, or eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods. Because cake mix and flour are powders, they can spread easily.
- Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw batter or eggs until they are cooked.
- Clean up thoroughly after handling cake mix, flour, or eggs:
- Wash your hands with running water and soap after handling cake mix, flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces they have touched.
- Wash bowls, utensils, countertops, and other surfaces with warm, soapy water.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe E. coli symptoms:
- 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
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