Raw Cookie Dough

As a kid, did you take a bite – or two – of raw cookie dough or cake batter before it went in the oven? I sure did!

But over the years there have been more and more warnings not to consume raw dough or batter – although the warnings were usually related to the risk of salmonella from consuming raw egg.

But uncooked flour can also pose potential dangers. In fact, in Canada earlier this year, there was a massive recall of flour due to possible E. coli contamination.

Flour can easily become contaminated with E. coli bacteria from the soil, water or animal waste – and consuming even a small amount of contaminated raw flour can make you sick. Therefore, flour should be consumed cooked, as cooking kills any bacteria that may be present.

What are the symptoms of E. coli infection?

Symptoms can appear within 1 to 10 days (which can make it very difficult to identify the source) and can include the following:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloodied diarrhea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches

What can you do to protect yourself from becoming infected with E. coli from contaminated flour?

Although there have been no new cases of E. coli infection reported since April, there may still be contaminated flour sitting around in people’s cupboards, since flour has a very long shelf life of three years.

If you are concerned that you may potentially have contaminated flour, you could simply throw it out.

Another option is to pasteurize the flour before using it. You can pasteurize flour by spreading it out on a flat tray and heating it for about 30 minutes at 375 F.

Avoid the temptation to eat raw dough or batter of any kind.

Or… if you just gotta have your raw cookie dough fix, pasteurize your flour and use an egg-free cookie dough recipe.


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