It’s not just your mom. The Food and Drug Administration is now also telling you not to eat raw cookie dough.
Turns out, what is a guilty pleasure for who knows how many people is risky. And not just because of the possibility of salmonella from raw eggs.
The reason for the latest finger-wagging by the FDA?
It’s the flour. Bacteria in flour can give you E. coli.
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“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” said Leslie Smoot, a senior adviser to the FDA’s office of food safety and a specialist in processed foods.
Animals live in fields and do their business there. Bacteria from their waste can contaminate grain that is then milled into flour. Bacteria is usually killed during normal food preparation, which involves heat. Not so with raw dough.
It’s not so appetizing when you look at it that way.
You can’t always count on flour, even in a baked product. Flour from the General Mills plant in Kansas City was the likely source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened as many as 38 people this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Half of the people who got sick said they had cooked with flour before becoming ill. General Mills said some of them may also have consumed raw dough.
The outbreak led to a recent voluntary recall of 10 million pounds of flour sold under the Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature brands.
The FDA advises against giving children raw dough to play with.
And anyone handling raw dough or flour should wash their hands. Mom told you that too.