Tempted to eat raw cookie dough? ‘Just say no,’ CDC warns
Don’t eat raw cookie dough or cake mixes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people this holiday season.
Homemade dough often contains raw flour and eggs that can cause life-threatening diseases. Flour isn’t treated to kill E. coli and other germs that can make people sick. The CDC notes that in 2016, an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to raw flour sickened 63 people. Symptoms of E. coli infections include severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. E. coli causes about 30 deaths every year in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Also, raw eggs in batter can cause salmonella poisoning, which can lead to diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. In some cases, salmonella also can lead to life-threatening diseases. About 450 people die every year in the U.S. related to salmonella infections, according to the CDC.
Cooking flour and eggs kills such contaminates, making cookies, cakes, breads, pie crusts and other baked goods safe to eat.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration also urge people to avoid handling raw flour — including children who might play with raw dough or use raw flour in arts and craft activities. When baking, the agencies say to wash hands frequently between handling raw ingredients.
So, is any cookie dough safe to eat? Commercially sold cookie dough advertised to eat without baking is fine, as the products don’t contain raw eggs and many are made with heat-treated flour.
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