FDA Issues New Warning Against Cookie Dough
Put down the spoon or spatula from the mixing bowl and walk away slowly.
Every cookie dough lover knows eating the stuff raw is risky because uncooked eggs could result in salmonella exposure. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is adding extra weight to that risk after reporting an outbreak of sicknesses linked to flour used in various dough. That raw flour may contain a bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121, the agency said in an advisory issued Tuesday.
The FDA pointed out in its warning that some flour brands have recalled their products, but that consumers may not realize raw dough used in children’s crafts— like clay kids commonly play with while waiting for their food at restaurants— still poses a health risk. The FDA has advised restaurants and schools against allowing children to play with raw dough, and for fans of cookie dough ice cream to buy the treat from a manufacturer rather than make it from scratch.
In fact, the administration said in a new consumer update posted Tuesday, it’s not safe to eat raw flour in any form. Not homemade “play dough,” not licking the spoon of brownie batter. Nothing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38 people were infected in 20 states with illnesses starting in December.
According to the FDA, their investigation found that the raw dough that sickened patients had been made with General Mills flour made in a Kansas City, Mo., plant. Tests conducted by the FDA tied bacteria in a sample of flour to bacteria from people who had been sickened.
General Mills recalled flour products made between Nov. 14, 2015, and Dec. 4, 2015, under three brand names: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Gold Medal Wondra. They included varieties of all-purpose, self-rising and unbleached flours.
Symptoms of this strain of E. coli include bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. While most people will bounce back within a week, it can even lead to kidney failure, especially among the elderly and children under 5.
Flour is not an ingredient most associate with a contamination risk, but with the recent outbreaks, the FDA had to take notice.
“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” said…