According to Conagra, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working together to investigate whether this positive finding is linked to a salmonella outbreak that affected five people in three states. “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,” according to the FDA.
The four cake mixes in the recall are:
- Duncan Hines Classic White Cake 15.25 oz (product UPC 644209307500; best if used by dates: March 7, 2019, March 8, 2019, March 9, 2019, March 10, 2019, March 12, 2019, March 13, 2019)
- Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake 15.25 oz (product UPC 644209307494; best if used by dates: March 9, 2019, March 10, 2019, March 12, 2019, March 13, 2019)
- Duncan Hines Classic Butter Golden Cake 15.25 oz (product UPC 644209307593; best if used by dates: March 7, 2019, March 8, 2019, March 9, 2019)
- Duncan Hines Signature Confetti Cake 15.25 oz (product UPC 644209414550; best if used by dates: March 12, 2019, March 13, 2019)
What to Know if You Bought the Recalled Duncan Hines Cake Mix
If you’ve purchased one of the affected items, don’t bake with or eat cake made with the mix. Return the item to the store where you bought it for a refund. The “best if used by” date can be found on the top of the box.
The FDA warned consumers not to eat raw batter, as cake mixes and batters can be made with eggs and flour that require baking to get rid of potential foodborne bacteria.
Michelle Dudash, RDN, who is in private practice in Carmel, Indiana, and is the author of Clean Eating for Busy Families, notes that she was surprised to hear the product has salmonella, as the Classic White cake mix doesn’t contain egg product, which is more likely to be contaminated. Flour is a raw agricultural product, but salmonella isn’t usually an issue, she says. In 2016, General Mills issued a voluntary recall of several flour brands due to potential E. coli contamination.
If you have other Duncan Hines Cake mixes that aren’t part of the recall, Dudash doesn’t think you need to toss them yet. It’s possible these flavors are all processed in one plant while others are manufactured elsewhere.
“Sometimes you’ll see a food recall for certain flavors of a product, then a recall of all flavors later,” she says. “If you have Duncan Hines cake mix, you may want to wait it out before you make it. Follow the recall on the FDA’s website.”
Salmonella Definition, Symptoms, Warnings
Salmonella is a group of bacteria that causes foodborne illness. Most people who are infected experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after becoming infected, according to the CDC.
“Salmonella can be confused with other illnesses, like the flu,” Dudash says. “You may not have all of the symptoms.”
The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most individuals don’t need treatment to recover. But if diarrhea becomes severe enough to require hospitalization, there is the risk of infection spreading from the intestines to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. This severe infection can cause death if the person isn’t promptly treated with antibiotics, according to the CDC.
“Pregnant women, children, the aged, and the immuno-compromised are more prone to food-borne diseases than the average healthy person,” Dudash says. “They need to be extra careful.”
According to CDC estimates, Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States annually.