Don't sneak a bite of raw cookie dough, cake batter

FDA warns of salmonella, E. coli dangers before baked

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Growing up, my mom would tell me not to sneak little bites of raw cookie dough or cake batter because it would make me sick. Now, it's not just my mom saying that, the Food and Drug Administration is sending that warning, too. There are two potential dangers lurking inside: one is the unbaked flour, the other is the raw eggs.

"When you’re making cookies there’s usually raw eggs involved, and whenever you consume raw eggs you increase your risk of salmonella poisoning,” explained Cleveland Clinic Registered Lindsay Malone.

Malone warns eating anything that contains raw eggs can increase a person’s risk for getting salmonella bacteria -- a food-borne illness that can produce gastrointestinal distress including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. 

According to the FDA, the other danger in that raw dough or batter is the unbaked flour. It can sometimes be contaminated with harmful strains of E. coli -- which can also cause gastrointestinal distress, as well as other health complications.

If there are little ones helping you make your tasty treats, Malone wants you to know that they are more sensitive to food-borne illness than adults.

The FDA goes on to say children should not use real dough to play with. The reason: even if they are not eating it, they are putting their hands in their mouths after handling the raw dough.

Other ways to protect your family:

  • Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
  • Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

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