Gingerbread House of Horrors: FDA Issues Warning Regarding Raw Cookie Dough
This week, the FDA and CDC issued a warning reminding holiday bakers to lay off the raw cookie dough. While most are aware that raw eggs used to make cookie dough or cake batter can contain salmonella, the FDA also noted that flour is a raw food product that has not been treated to kill germs such as E.Coli. Earlier this year, boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix were recalled after salmonella was detected in a box of Classic White Cake Mix in Oregon. It may have been linked to five case of salmonella infection across three states. In 2016, 63 people were sickened due to a rash of E. coli infections linked to raw flour. If the products had been fully cooked as directed, these infections could potentially have been avoided.
The FDA states that it is safest to keep raw foods like flour and eggs separate from ready to eat foods, and follow label direction completely while cooking or baking. In order to avoid the risk of food poisoning, such as salmonella or E. Coli infection, always bake or cook raw dough and batter before eating. Hands should be washed thoroughly after handling flour, raw eggs, or surfaces that they have touched. Symptoms for salmonella poisoning include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. E. coli symptoms range from severe stomach cramps to diarrhea and vomiting. Both infections are especially dangerous to infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
If you simply can’t resist the siren song of cookie dough, many companies have released “edible cookie dough” products, such as ice cream and milkshakes, that have been properly treated or cooked to lessen the risks associated with E. Coli or salmonella. These products are FDA approved and contain all of the fun and less of the fear that comes with stealing a bite of a forbidden treat this holiday season.