Food Safety Tip – Avoid Raw Cookie Dough This Holiday Season

Raw Dough Could Make You Sick (600x450)

Raw Dough Could Make You Sick

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your view), TechHelp and our Food & Dairy Processing Specialists come across a plethora of information regarding food safety. Today’s tasty nugget is raw cookie dough. We all know it is nearly impossible to stop oneself from chowing down on a delicious chunk of raw cookie dough.  Consumers often understand the dangers of eating dough due to the presence of raw eggs and the associated risk of Salmonella. Not as well known is the fact that FLOUR, used in making bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas, can contain a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 that can make people sick with diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps. Though most people recover within a week, some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure.

“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 include boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving, and frying. Raw dough is dangerous because it has not been subject to a kill step.

Sorry to rain on your holiday fun, but better to be safe than sorry.  Read more about flour & cookie dough safety at the FDA consumer safety site.