FDA Warning: Don’t Eat That Raw Cookie Dough

Collin Quinn Lomax / Shutterstock.com

It can be hard to resist plopping a glob of raw chocolate-chip cookie dough in your mouth when you’re baking cookies. Personally, I enjoy the dough more than the cookies. But unless you want to risk getting super sick, you should refrain from licking that spoon covered in raw dough or any other raw batter that contains flour.

Although you may think it’s the raw egg in dough that makes people sick — and indeed, consuming raw eggs carries a risk of salmonella — it’s actually raw flour that’s the latest concern.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, raw flour made by General Mills is to blame for a multi-state E. coli outbreak that started in December.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation found that consuming or handling the contaminated raw flour was the common denominator in a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 outbreak that has infected 38 people in 20 states, 10 of whom have been hospitalized.

The symptoms of E. coli O121 are diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramping. Severe cases of the illness can result in kidney failure.

The CDC says flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri, was the “likely source” of the outbreak. As a result of the investigation, Generals Mills has recalled 10 million pounds of these flours sold under the following brand names: Gold Medal Flour, Signature Kitchen Flour and Gold Medal Wondra flour.

Warns the FDA:

“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 heeds the call of nature in the field, bacteria from the animal waste could contaminate the grain, which is then harvested and milled into flour.

Common “kill steps” applied during food preparation and/or processing (so-called because they kill bacteria that cause infections) include boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving, and frying. But with raw dough, no kill step has been used.

And don’t make homemade cookie dough ice cream either. If that’s your favorite flavor, buy commercially made products. Manufacturers should use ingredients that include treated flour and pasteurized eggs.

The FDA is also warning parents not to let their kids play with raw dough or baking mixes that contain flour because E. coli bacteria can be absorbed through their hands.

Do you eat raw dough or batter? Did you know flour can contain disease-causing bacteria? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.