Warning: Everything can kill you.
That’s basically the message we’re getting today from the Food and Drug Administration. They say it’s really, really unsafe to consume raw cookie dough — even if it’s a recipe that excludes eggs.
People generally understand the risk of eating raw cookie dough that contains eggs, because of Salmonella. But there’s also a risk that people can get E. coli from uncooked flour.
“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” says Leslie Smoot, Ph.D., a senior advisor in FDA’s Office of Food Safety and a specialist in the microbiological safety of processed foods.
So if an animal were to heed the call of nature in the field, E.coli bacteria could end up in your sack of flour.
And you don’t have to directly consume the flour to get sick. The FDA warns that playing with raw dough, as may kids do, could result in illness. Some parents make homemade Play Doh for their kids, and some restaurants allow kids to play with raw dough while waiting for their food to arrive. The FDA warns this could also cause children to contract the E. coli bacteria.
They offered these tips for handling food:
- 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.