FDA and CDC Warn Against the Health Risks of Eating Raw Cookie Dough
‘Tis the season to bake cookies, but in their latest buzzkill move, experts at the FDA and CDC urge we should all steer clear of eating the raw cookie dough. And don’t let the children make ornaments and decorations with it, either.
In an unfortunate turn of events, recent FDA and CDC alerts have warned that handling or eating raw dough can make you sick.
Something most people aren’t aware of is that flour is not treated to kill germs like Escherichia coli (E. coli). This means uncooked flour may be teeming with bacteria that can result in painful ailments like abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and even kidney damage.
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For example, between December 21, 2015 and September 5, 2016, E. coli infections occurred in 63 people across 24 states. When the CDC investigated, they determined that the handling or ingestion of raw dough was linked to the infections. 17 of those people ended up in the hospital, and one person developed kidney failure.
However, uncooked flour isn’t the only dangerous ingredient in cookie dough…
Would You Eat a Raw Egg?
You wouldn’t eat a raw egg for breakfast, so why would you eat dough or batter that contains eggs that haven’t been cooked?
Eggs that are raw — or even lightly cooked — can contain bacterial such as Salmonella, which is one of the common causes of food poisoning. (This is true even if the egg shells are clean and uncracked!)
Symptoms of Salmonella infection are similar to those caused by E. coli…diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. In some people, the infection could spread from the intestines to the blood stream, which requires immediate antibiotic treatment.
The CDC estimates that Salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths every year in the U.S. It’s also important to note that some types of Salmonella are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Develop Safe Baking Practices
To keep your family safe and healthy, the CDC provides the following safe handling practices for raw dough:
- Never eat raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter or any other raw product made with flour or eggs.
- Do not let children play with raw dough or use it to create crafts or ornaments.
- Follow package directions on baking mixes and other flour-containing products for proper cooking temperatures and for specified times.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling flour, raw eggs or uncooked dough.
- Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that might be present from spreading.
- Clean work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
Raw Dough’s a Raw Deal and Could Make You Sick. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Last Updated: 11/28/2017.
Crowe SJ, et al. Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Infections Associated with Flour. N Engl J Med. 2017 Nov 23;377(21):2036-2043.
FDA Investigated Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli Infections Linked to Flour. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Last Updated: 12/06/2017.
Salmonella Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CS267331-B Sept 2016.
Say No to Raw Dough! Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last Updated: 11/28/2017
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”