FDA Announces an Unexpected Reason to Avoid Raw Cookie Dough

IStock / IStock

Just when you thought you finally had the ingestion of raw cookie dough all figured out—using pasteurized eggs, or an egg substitute, to avoid Salmonella poisoning—along comes the Food and Drug Administration to ruin the delicious fun. On Tuesday, the organization announced that raw dough is still a risk for foodborne illness due to a recent outbreak of E. coli in flour.

Although the concern isn’t limited to just one source, General Mills has voluntarily recalled over 10 million pounds sold under the Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra, and Signature Kitchens brands. And since the outbreak was first suspected last December, 38 people in 20 states have fallen ill because of a strain known as Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli O121.

Even playing with the raw flour isn't a good idea. The Centers for Disease Control is also cautioning consumers not to allow anyone to mess with raw dough for crafts projects or at restaurants. (Some eateries serve it for children to play with while waiting for their orders.)

Why flour? Since it’s made from harvested grain pulled from places where animals graze, it’s possible, the FDA says, for some to “heed the call of nature” and contaminate the source.

The good news? Commercial products use pasteurized eggs and treated flour to avoid contamination. That means your cookie dough ice cream is safe. For now.

[h/t New York Times]