Stop Eating That Raw Cookie Dough: FDA Voices Fears Over Flour, E. Coli Outbreak

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) reiterated their call for people to stop eating raw cookie dough, and other types of raw dough, after a batch of flour has been recalled due to an E. coli outbreak that has affected multiple states. The FDA released a consumer update warning of the dangers that may occur from eating raw dough. Eating raw cookie dough is a popular habit that many adults and senior citizens grew up with. It was commonplace until the new millennium for kids to “lick the bowl clean” when mom or another caregiver was whipping up a batch of fresh, baked cookies. Now, the government warns consumers that eating raw cookie dough, or any raw dough, exposes people to risk from salmonella that is often present in raw eggs, as well as E. coli, due to the latest contamination in multiple brands of flour.

The government’s call not to eat raw cookie dough, isn’t new. While many people are aware of the link between salmonella and raw eggs, the government’s warning that flour may carry E. coli bacteria seems to have fallen mostly on deaf ears. As far back as 2009, scientists were identifying flour as a cause for E. coli outbreaks, and sounding the alarm to consumers not to eat raw cookie dough. A study published in the Oxford Journals back in 2009 warned that raw, prepackaged cookie dough was an avenue for E. coli transmission. For whatever reasons, it seems that many people have not changed their eating practices and habits in the past eight years, and continue to enjoy eating raw cookie dough.

Not only have people not changed their eating habits in the past decade, but judging from recent social media updates, it appears many will not heed the latest FDA warning and give up the raw cookie dough.

A quick look at YouTube shows that many people aren’t concerned about eating raw dough. There are “raw cookie dough” challenges, where people attempt to eat more uncooked dough than another contender. If people haven’t been concerned about the possibility of contracting salmonella, will they suddenly become concerned about the risk of E. coli?

In the video below, you can see a father and son participating in a raw cookie dough challenge, and while the video was uploaded several years ago, some of the comments are recent. It’s interesting that no one has pointed out that eating raw cookie dough is dangerous in the comments; but rather encourages the pair in their challenge instead.

As the flour recall impacts more than just raw cookie dough, the FDA warns consumers not to consume anything raw containing flour and also advises against the use of flour-based crafts that might be consumed by children including homemade play-dough recipes, bread-dough ornaments, and homemade, flour-based beads and other arts and crafts using flour that children might put into their mouths.

What do you think about the recent warning? Will you continue to eat raw cookie dough?

[Photo by P-fotography/ Shutterstock]