FDA Plays Cookie Monster and Ruins Raw Dough

It’s the warning that we’ve all been ignoring for years – raw cookie dough can make you sick. But now the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is chiming in and they’re confirming the bacteria risk.

It’s the warning that we’ve all been ignoring for years — raw cookie dough can make you sick. But now the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is chiming in and they’re confirming the bacteria risk.

An FDA notice was posted on June 28 to remind us that sneaking dough before baking is not just bad on the hips. An outbreak from raw cookie dough has broken out across the country and dozens of people are being sickened by a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and severe outcomes include kidney failure.

This message, however, is not just limited to cookie dough. Unfortunately, all of your favorite doughs and batters are in the mix including bread, pizza, and tortillas. That’s because any brand of flour can contain bacteria.

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“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” explained Leslie Smoot, PhD, a senior advisor in the FDA’s Office of Food Safety and a specialist in the microbiological safety of processed foods.

A recent investigation by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bacteria in flour samples at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri. Tests linked the bacteria to people who had gotten sick. This resulted in a 10 million-pound recall under three brand names: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s, and Gold Medal Wondra.

Jenny Scott, a senior advisor in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, explained that eating raw dough is not the only concern. Parents shouldn’t give their children flour-based crafts to play with either.

So while licking the spoon before baking a fresh bash of chocolate chip cookies is a common practice for most people, the potentially dangerous outcomes are real.

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