Read This If You Recently Purchased Cake Mix

Bad news, batter lovers. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) has recently warned consumers who have purchased cake mix to be aware of potential infection from consuming the goods. According to the troubling new CDC report, raw batter made with boxed cake mix has been linked to a recent outbreak of E. coli across a number of states.

In a statement, issued July 28, the CDC shared insights from an investigation into a recent string of E. coli outbreaks in 16 people across 12 states. The states in question include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, which indicate that this particular strain of E. coli has spread far and wide.

Of the 16 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness, seven people were hospitalized and one developed kidney failure — no deaths have been reported as of yet. Thus far, those who have reported illness have all been female, and have ranged in age from 2 to 73 years old; however, 75% of the reports have been in children under the age of 18, who are more likely to get severe E. coli infections.

While the known outbreaks took place between February 26 and June 21, 2021, the CDC noted that "the true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses." This is due to the fact that "many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli," they say, and "recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak."

The CDC recommends avoiding eating raw batter

Based on their investigation, the CDC was able to trace the recent outbreak of the E. coli O121 strain back to cake mix following interviews with eight of the infected individuals. When questioned about the various foods they had consumed prior to the infection, six of the eight people reported eating or tasting raw batter made with cake mix.

The cake mixes used by the individuals varied in brands and varieties, so the CDC has yet to determine a specific product that consumers should avoid and no formal recall  has been issued yet as such. Rather, the CDC advises consumers to "not eat raw cake batter, whether made from a mix or homemade" in general — often mixed with raw eggs, it has the potential to make you sick in general. The CDC also adds that "raw cake batter can contain harmful bacteria," which "are killed only when raw batter is baked or cooked."

If you've been unable to resist the pull of a delectable bowl of cake batter, you'd probably know if you were sick as an E. coli infection has serious symptoms including diarrhea, fever, vomiting, dehydration, and dizziness. If you suspect you may have symptoms of a severe infection, the CDC recommends you contact your healthcare provider right away. For more safe food handling practices, the CDC offers guidelines on its website.