The holidays can be a time of joy, but they can also be a challenge. Just think of all the cookies: delicious — but definitely not to be eaten before they are baked. That’s the word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a reminder before the holidays for people to “say no to raw dough.” Raw flour can contain the bacteria E. coli, and raw eggs can carry the risk of salmonella poisoning. Symptoms for salmonella poisoning can include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps hours to a few days after exposure, the CDC explains, while E. coli symptoms range from severe stomach cramps to diarrhea and vomiting. While many E. coli infections improve within a week on their own, as do some salmonella infections, some can be life-threatening at worst. E. coli in raw flour was an issue back in 2016 as well, when an outbreak that was traced back to a number of major-label brands impacted people in 24 states across the U.S.
“When you prepare homemade cookie dough, cake mixes, or even bread, you may be tempted to taste a bite before it is fully cooked,” the CDC says. “But steer clear of this temptation—eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick.” The agency warns not only against cookie dough, but also against raw dough or batter for “tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour.” Follow all baking and refrigeration instructions and wash your hands after handling these types of raw products, CDC says.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb had some fun with the safety warning on Twitter.