A lot of people know about the danger of salmonella poisoning from uncooked eggs in raw dough, but fewer may be aware of the danger posed by flour.
The Food and Drug Administration is now warning people not to eat raw cookie dough or batter because of raw flour. Dough for bread, cookies, pizza, or tortillas – anything that contains raw flour – is also included in the warning.
It comes in the wake of an E. coli outbreak linked to flour produced by General Mills that infected at least 38 people in 20 states. The company ended up voluntarily recalling 10 million pounds of flour.
“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” says Leslie Smoot, Ph.D., a senior adviser in FDA’s Office of Food Safety and a specialist in the microbiological safety of processed foods. She says bacteria from animal waste could contaminate the grain in the field, before it is harvested to be milled into flour.
In addition to consuming it, the FDA is warning parents not to give their kids raw dough or baking mixes containing flour to play with.
Even though they’re not eating it, the bacteria can still be absorbed through their hands.