Don’t let the fun of cookies turn into a recipe for food poisoning

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Baking cookies is a great family activity for all ages while on vacation. However, it also means that those most susceptible to food poisoning can come into direct contact with harmful bacteria.

Most only think about the dangers of raw eggs and salmonella and avoid that with certain egg substitutes. But salmonella is not the only risk.

Although tempting, raw cookie dough should not be eaten.

Although tempting, raw cookie dough should not be eaten. It’s important to remember that raw flour can be just as dangerous as raw eggs. Flour is generally a raw agricultural product that has not been processed to kill germs. Harmful pathogens, such as E. coli, can contaminate grain while it is still in the field or during flour production. Bacteria are killed when foods made with flour are cooked.

Warnings often appear on the flaps of flour packages – “Snack before you taste” or “The flour is raw. Please cook completely before eating. But you should still remind your family, friends and loved ones of the danger of this tempting spoon licking.

The April 23, 2021 edition of the CDC’s “Note from the Field” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report examined outbreaks involving flour, including an outbreak of E. coli in 2019.

He found that among 13 patients questioned about exposure to flour, six reported eating, licking or tasting raw homemade batter or batter in the week before the onset of the disease. Three patients reported eating raw dough or batter made with the same grocery store brand of all-purpose flour, including one patient who reported eating raw dough at a Rhode Island bakery. See at the bottom of

See if your family and friends can pass this quiz, and stay safe with these tips from the FDA and CDC on baking and baking with flour:

You added a little too much salt in your cookie recipe. Is it safe to taste cookie dough or batter before baking?

  • Do not taste or eat raw batter or batter, or crafts made from raw flour, such as homemade play dough or Christmas decorations. Do not touch your face when handling raw flour. Try making one to taste instead of tasting the dough.

Is raw cookie dough safe for children or others to play with?

  • Do not let children play with raw dough or flour. Even if they don’t eat the dough, they can put their hands in their mouth after handling the dough.

Are baked goods safe to try if they are half-baked?

  • Bake or bake raw dough and dough completely before eating baked goods.

What about chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream? Can I add my cookie dough to my homemade ice cream?

  • Do not use raw homemade cookie dough in ice cream. Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been processed to kill harmful bacteria. You can cook your flour first and use a recipe without eggs.

Can I choose and eat chocolate chips in cookie dough?

  • Store raw foods such as flour or eggs away from ready-to-eat foods until immediately before use.

Can I let my raw dough sit on the counter overnight to make fresh treats in the morning?

  • Refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until cooked for 2 to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

What must to make once the cookies are in the oven?

  • Clean well after handling flour, eggs or raw dough:
    • Wash your hands with soap and running water after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surface they have touched.
    • Wash bowls, utensils, countertops and other surfaces with hot soapy water.

Follow these tips and don’t let food poisoning interrupt your vacation!

Recent outbreaks linked to flour:

September 2016 – Produced at a General Mills plant in Kansas City, MO

  • 63 people infected with epidemic strains of STEC O121 or STEC O26 have been reported in 24 states
  • 17 sick people were hospitalized. A person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure

July 2019 – ALDI Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour in Rhode Island

  • 21 people infected with the epidemic strain of E. coli O26 have been reported in 9 states
  • Three hospitalizations

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