If you can’t resist sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough before baking cookies this holiday season, the Food and Drug Administration has some bad news for you.
In a new warning, the government group says you should never eat raw cookie dough again!
FDA: Raw cookie dough could make you sick
The problem? Flour. It can contain harmful strains of E. coli. In 2016, the FDA investigated an outbreak that made dozens of people sick.
A strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 was blamed for the batch of illnesses.
The investigation found that raw dough eaten or handled by some of the patients was made with flour found in subsequent tests by the FDA to have the same bacterium that was making people sick.
“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” said Leslie Smoot, Ph.D., a senior advisor with the FDA’s Office of Food Safety.
Ten million pounds of flour were recalled, including unbleached, all-purpose and self-rising varieties, the FDA said.
Some of the recalled flour was sold to restaurants that allowed kids to play with dough made from raw flour while waiting for their meals.
As a result, the FDA is now advising restaurants to stop giving customers raw dough.
And if cookie dough ice cream is your favorite, don’t make it at home. Commercial brands are OK. They use treated flour and pasteurized eggs.
As you probably already know, consuming raw eggs increases the risk of Salmonella.
Here are the FDA’s top 5 tips to stay safe:
- Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
- Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
- Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
- Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
- Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.