Food Safety Broadcasts


February 12, 2019 - Cookie Dough Batter

Taking away one of the small joys of baking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding families not to eat raw cookie dough.  Its warning slogan is to “Say No to Raw Dough.”  The agency warns that eating or tasting unbaked products, such as dough or batter, can lead to illness — and kids, especially those younger than the age of 5, can get sick from even handling raw dough.

Raw eggs, which can contain salmonella, are a culprit, as is raw flour, which hasn’t been treated to kill bacteria like E. coli, according to the CDC.

Tasting uncooked foods made with flour can make you ill, according to a recent report. In the summer of 2016 more than 10 million pounds of flour were recalled due to potential contamination.

Q:  What is the danger within both eggs and flour?

A:  They can harbor bacteria.  Those bacteria are killed completely with cooking, so if you don’t cook them, they’re still contaminated.  If the ingredients have already been pasteurized, then they are considered to be safe.

It’s really no different than when you’re using any raw ingredient.  It’s the exact same argument not to eat raw or undercooked chicken or not to put cooked chicken back on the raw plate because it can get contaminated.

Q:  What about flour?  That’s something that might not be on people’s radar as problematic, as much as raw eggs.

A:  The issue with eggs is more with salmonella, primarily.  The issue with flour has more to do with E. coli.  There have been outbreaks of E. coli infections from contaminated raw flour.

Q:  What are the odds of someone getting sick after eating raw cookie dough?

A:  The risk of an individual getting sick from eating raw flour or raw eggs is probably very low.  I think public health officials look at the cumulative effect and don’t want anybody to get sick. While the individual risk of getting sick is extremely low in the absence of a known outbreak, for the population, it’s probably a good idea to avoid potential risks.

Source:   The Chicago Tribune



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