Most raw cookie dough aficionados are well aware of the risk of salmonella poisoning that comes with consuming raw cookie dough. This is largely due to the uncooked eggs that are part of the batter. Now, the FDA is giving another reason why those deciding to “risk it” may want to think again. The agency has now warned that cookies in their uncooked form could contain the bacteria Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121, which is housed in the uncooked flour.
Recently, several brands of flour, namely General Mills, have been recalled over an E. coli warning, prompting the FDA to warn the public about not taking the risks involved in consuming raw cookie dough. They advise consumers not to make cookie dough ice cream themselves, but instead to purchase it from a manufacturer to ensure that they don’t come in contact with the dreaded bacteria.
The FDA also stated that its warning extended to raw dough that was often used in children’s crafts, such as “clay kids commonly play with while waiting for their food at restaurants.” This still poses a risk, as children often unknowingly ingest the craft or may lick their hands or eat after playing with it.
Children, along with the elderly and immunosuppressed, are the most likely to be affected by the E. coli bacterium, so it is important that parents are extra vigilant. When making dough-like crafts at home, parents should look for alternatives that either do not contain flour, or purchase it from a manufacturer.
They further warned that many restaurants will give children dough to play with while they wait for their meals, and in some cases, they have contained some of the recalled brands of flour. The FDA stated that if offered, you should refuse the dough in order to protect your child.
The FDA also recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with flour, as well as any utensils used in the process of baking. What’s more, you store your flour away from other products to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.