Don’t Get Sick from Cookie Dough!


It’s the holiday season. For many people, that means meeting with family and friends, spending time together cooking and baking. Nothing conjures up those warm fuzzy feelings quite like baking a dessert. Whether it’s cookies, cakes, pies, or fudge, everyone has a little sweet tooth. Many people sate the urge for sweets in the middle of cooking. By that ever-popular act of licking the spoon.

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Ever since they were kids, people have been told not to eat raw dough. They might have listened long enough not to get in trouble; but, as soon as a parent’s back was turned, the little imps descended on the bowl of uncooked brownie mix with a vengeance.

Previous warnings against consuming raw cookie dough have come because of the risk involved in consuming raw eggs. However, recent studies have shown eggs might not be the only reason to put down that tub of cookie dough and spoon in favor of something safer: flour.

“What is safer than flour,” you may ask. One might think that, given how unassuming and innocuous it is, the risks in eating cookie dough shouldn’t come from flour. It turns out that the pantry staple can actually harbor E. coli. In the last two years, research has connected this relatively rare foodborne illness with two outbreaks in the United States and Canada.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia struggled to find the culprit of the outbreak. Patients suffering from the illness took a questionnaire. Flour, however, is not something usually included on these forms. When experts finally did figure it out, they traced the E. coli that made 63 people sick back to one facility in the United States.

Though it is not a widespread health crisis, it is nevertheless important to remain health conscious any time foodborne illnesses make headlines. What precautions do you take to ensure you’re not exposing yourself? In spite of all the risks, are you planning on continuing to eat raw cookie dough? No matter where you stand on the issue of uncooked desserts, share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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