With major brands recalling millions of pounds of flour in recent years, food scientists have been eyeing ways to make this necessary cooking ingredient safer to use in its raw form.

Rolling pin and flour on a dark background. Free space for text. Top view.
Credit: Yulia Naumenko

Recent years have seen their fair share of flour recalls. This year alone, products from General Mills' Gold Medal brand, Hometown Food Company's Pillsbury brand, ADM Milling, J.M. Smucker's Robin Hood brand, Aldi's Bakers Corner brand, and King Arthur Flour were all recalled — all for potential or verified presence of E. coli O26 contamination.

Altogether, there have been 11 flour recalls so far in 2019 for E.coli or Salmonella. When flour is recalled, it's not taken lightly, as people use so much flour every day to cook at home. The problem with most flours is when it's eaten raw or uncooked, such as in cookie dough. In fact, though the best way to destroy these pathogens is through heat, some heating may not be enough to kill the dangerous bacteria.

Now, however, there's a new heat-treating process for flour that might lead to an end in flour recalls.

Company Agri-Neo has introduced Neo-Temper Liquid, a product that can be mixed with water and used during the flour's tempering process. This mixture cleans the wheat and then adds moisture back to it so it can be properly milled. During the process, dangerous pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, which are found on and within the cracks of the wheatberry, can be more easily destroyed.

What makes this a good solution is that it can be used in mass scale and is more low-cost than some other solutions people have known about in the past but couldn't use as efficiently and to cover such large areas. The company also told "Bakery and Snacks" that the ingredients used in this liquid are natural, too. If it works, it could mean fewer flour recalls in the future, so here's hoping it pans out.