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Can I Eat Raw Cookie Dough? FDA And CDC Say No

chocolate chip cookie dough
Recent outbreaks of E.coli have prompted the CDC to warn against eating raw dough.

Forget about licking the batter on the spoon or sampling raw cookie dough. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say you risk the chance of illness if you do.

For generations, many have licked the spoon for the last strands of cake batter or have snacked on raw cookie dough with no health consequences. But Rachel Trammell, a registered dietitian with Parkland Hospital System, says we now live in a different world.

"Our food supply is different now than it was then," Trammell said. "And germs and bacteria have evolved to survive, so it is something we need to be careful with.”


The Danger In The Dough

“You don’t want to eat raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella poisoning. Lately, there’ve been a lot of outbreaks of E.coli in flour — especially raw flour.”

Isn’t Flour Processed?

“The grain comes out of the field and then is ground. If something is on the grain before it’s ground, that bacteria or germ or bug gets ground up into the grain. And because we don’t heat flour before we use it, it stays in the flour.”

What About Cookie Dough Sold In Stores?

“There are some companies that have chosen to heat-treat their flour. You need to heat it to about 73 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off E.coli. Also, use pasteurized eggs. Pasteurization is a process that kills the bacteria without cooking the egg. Nestle and Pillsbury have started doing that. Those would be safer to eat.”

How To Make Raw Dough And Batter Safe To Eat At Home.

“Toast your flour in the skillet on medium heat before you use it, and then use pasteurized eggs. You can get pasteurized eggs at the grocery store. You just want to look at the carton and it will say 'pasteurized.'"


CDC: Say No To Raw Dough

The CDC keeps warning people not to eat raw cookie dough — even though it’s delicious

FDA: Raw Dough's a Raw Deal and Could Make You Sick

Outbreak of E. coli Infections Linked to Flour

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.