Stay Away from Raw Cookie Dough This Holiday Season
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging consumers to stay away from eating unbaked cookie dough because it can make them seriously sick. According to a Washington Post news report, health officials are saying that people should not even take a bite of raw cookie dough because of the high risk of food poisoning. This is because raw flour can become contaminated with Escherichia coli or E. coli and raw eggs, which are mixed into flour to make cookie dough, have been a known carrier of salmonella bacteria.
Why Raw Dough Can Make You Sick
Both bacteria are killed in the cooking process. But, contaminated food that is not cooked or even undercooked can make people sick. In recent years, public health experts have issued strong warnings about raw eggs as well as raw flour. The CDC reported that in 2016, more than 60 people across the United States were sickened by E. coli from raw flour. According to an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and is typically not treated to kill bacteria.
So, bacteria from animal waste could contaminate the grain, which is then harvested and milled into flour. Common steps that kill bacteria during food preparation or processing include boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving and frying. However, with raw dough, you are still exposed to these bacterial infections. This principle would apply to other uncooked dough such as cakes, pies, bread and pizza. CDC officials also warn that children should not be allowed to play with raw dough because they can get sick simply from handling it.
What Steps Can You Take?
Common symptoms of E. coli infections include severe stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms of a salmonella infection are similar but may also include fever. With both illnesses, patients may recover within a week. But complications may also arise that lead to hospitalization and permanent health effects.
To avoid any potential food poisoning, do not eat raw cookie dough or cake batter. The CDC urges people to thoroughly wash their hands with warm, soapy water and to clean all work surfaces, dishes and utensils especially when working with flour and raw eggs. If you have been sickened by a product you purchased or food you consumed at a restaurant, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, and pain and suffering. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.