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Is Cookie Dough Safe To Consume?

Dorathy Gass

Who doesn’t like a little nibble of raw cookie dough, whether they are baking sugar, chocolate chip, or even shortbread cookies? But is eating this dough, without it being cooked, safe? Well, much like everything that surrounds health questions in life, the answer may not be so cut and dry.

As the health risks that center around cookie dough, focus primarily on the raw eggs, and potential salmonella bacteria, (which is why it is recommended to cook eggs, to kill said bacteria), that is one issue around cookie dough consumption. To avoid this, some experts suggest to bake with pasteurized eggs, that kill off bacteria without any cooking required … thus being able to indulge in some of that decadent cookie dough.

Still, there is always the risk of contaminated flour, which increases the dangers around eating raw cookie dough as well. In fact, more recently, 38 individuals have fallen ill in the United States, even hospitalized, due to contaminated flour and eating it uncooked, by consuming cookie dough; an occurrence that has happened since December of last year, thanks to a General Mills (GM) recall on their flour, which was contaminated with E. coli.
Still, the raw cookie dough debate doesn’t stop there.

CNN reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then released a consumer notice, around the dangers of consuming cookie dough, with warnings against: giving your children raw cookie dough or baking mixes (even just to play with); advising against making homemade cookie dough ice cream; and flat out suggesting that parents/caretakers, as well as their children, should not eat raw cookie dough.

Still, could this notice be going too far? Well, while the FDA statement may have been a bit of a buzz kill for cookie dough connoisseurs all across the country; with contaminated flour, potential contamination on other ingredients, and raw unpasteurized eggs adding risks, it really is an important part of what they do to keep the public well-informed through these types of advisories.

Should people be taking these public services announcements lightly, or exercise due caution when it comes to their cookie dough indulgence? At the end of the day, there is great risk in everything we do, daily. Still, when it comes to cookie dough prep and intake, especially with our kids, maybe it is not best to throw caution out of the proverbial window. Ensure all ingredients (flour, or others) have not hit the contaminated list, reach for pasteurized eggs when grocery shopping, and remember: indulging now and again is good – but, everything in life should be enjoyed in moderation.
… even raw cookie dough.

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