Baking for the Holidays? Don't Eat Raw Dough
Holiday bake sales, Christmas cookie swaps, treats for the family or the company party…there are many reasons to get our hands in the dough during the holiday season, but the FDA warns: Keep raw dough out of your mouth and wash your hands after handling it.
While you may understand the dangers of eating dough due to the risk of Salmonella from raw eggs, you may not be aware of an additional risk: harmful strains of E. coli (Escherichia coli) in flour. E. coli can be present in all brands and types of flour – unbleached, all-purpose, and self-rising. Crafts using raw dough – for making Christmas ornaments, for example – also pose a risk.
The reason flour may be contaminated with bacteria is that it’s made from grain taken directly from fields and is not treated to kill bacterial contamination from animal waste, says the FDA. So, in addition to laying off the raw cookie dough, wash your hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough. Fortunately, any harmful bacteria present in flour will be destroyed during cooking.