The Shocking Truth About Raw Cookie Dough!

At some point or another, most of us have been warned against eating raw cookie dough. Many assume the risks are due to the raw eggs, but many home cooks don’t realize that uncooked flour presents food safety risks as well. The recent outbreak of Salmonella linked to flour in 11 US states is a good example of why you might think twice about consuming cookie dough containing uncooked flour. Read on to uncover why eating raw cookie dough is not advisable and what makes certain cookie doughs on the market safe to enjoy raw.

Why It’s Unsafe to Eat Raw Cookie Dough

Raw cookie dough is unsafe to eat because raw eggs could potentially be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria like E.coli and because flour is raw and unpasteurized. What many consumers don’t know is that E.coli and Salmonellacould also be present in their flour. According to the CDC, these pathogenic bacteria can contaminate the grain before harvest or the flour during processing.

Since flour is not heat-treated, any flour and baking mixes you buy could be contaminated with these bacteria. While heat kills the bacteria, eating raw cookie dough (and similar mixtures, like cake batter) poses risks of food poisoning.

E. coli and Salmonella can cause food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. These unpleasant symptoms can last from several hours to days. Some people may experience milder symptoms and will recover on their own, while others — like those with a compromised immune system, young children, and adults over 65 years old — may get very sick or even experience life-threatening symptoms that require medical attention.

The good news is that heat destroys these germs — as long as you bake the cookie dough to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F. Cookies are safely edible when they have lost their shiny sheen.

How to Identify “Safe” Raw Cookie Dough

If you are a cookie dough lover, you can find various edible raw cookie dough options on the market — look for brands that state “safe to eat raw” on the packaging. These cookie doughs use heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs (or no eggs) to ensure the doughs are safe to eat raw. In fact, oftentimes, these doughs are intended to be consumed raw instead of baked into cookies.

How Can I Make Edible Cookie Dough?

You can also make your own delicious edible cookie dough with our collection of edible cookie dough recipes. We advise you to purchase commercial heat-treated flour, as home pasteurization may only destroy some of the bacteria present.

As with all food prep, be sure to follow safe food handling practices to prevent cross-contamination and spreading germs. These safe practices include keeping raw ingredients away from cooked foods, washing your hands, and cleaning/sanitizing your bowls, utensils, and countertops after handling raw ingredients.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let your love for cookie dough put your health at risk. It is best to steer clear of raw cookie dough due to the potential contamination of disease-causing bacteria in raw flour. If you love indulging in cookie dough, look for brands that state they are safe to eat raw. You can also make your own edible cookie dough at home with commercial heat-treated flour.