Food & Drink

NC State Fair calls off a baking contest after flour is recalled over E. coli fears

A possible E. Coli contamination has dashed the blue ribbon dreams of some North Carolina bakers.

On Friday, organizers of the North Carolina State Fair announced that they have canceled the King Arthur Flour Baking Contest, one of the most popular cooking competitions each year, after the company reported finding E. Coli bacteria in its flour.

King Arthur Flour announced the voluntary recall on Oct. 3, the company said, after E. Coli bacteria showed up in samples. The recall affects 5- and 25-pound bags of unbleached all-purpose flour, the company said, noting that it hasn’t heard of any reported illnesses. A complete list of impacted flour can be found on King Arthur’s website.

Fair organizers sent out a release Friday afternoon, calling off the competition, which was scheduled to take place Sunday, Oct. 27. There were 21 adult entries and 13 youth entries, a fair spokesperson said.

“Safety is our number one priority at the Fair,” said Kent Yelverton, fair manager, in a release. “That extends not only to our fairgoers, but also to the judges who determine competition winners. We want to make all competitors aware of the expanded recall, whether you are part of a cake or cookie competition or are using flour in other competitive areas. Expanded recall information will also be distributed to our food vendors.”

The potentially contaminated flour was milled before February of this year, but has an expiration date of January 2020, the fair said in the release, meaning there was a risk competitors would serve potentially tainted baked goods.

On the US Food and Drug Administration’s recall page, it recommends throwing away any bags of the affected flour.

This year’s King Arthur contest focused on pound cakes in the adult category and drop cookies for youth bakers. The top prize was a $100 gift certificate for adults and $75 gift certificate for kids.

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