CDC: Say No To The Dough!

Premier Health Now

It’s the time of year for holiday baking — and for a food safety refresher.

Many of us may sneak a taste of raw sugar cookie dough, or let our kids lick the chocolate cake batter from mixing beaters. That’s not such a healthy move, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Raw flour can contain the bacteria E. coli. Raw eggs may carry the salmonella bacteria.

Both germs can make anyone sick. To learn more, Premier Health Now talked with Aaron Block, MD, MPH, Franklin Family Practice.

“These are easy reminders that really do save lives,” says Dr. Block.

The heat of the oven kills off any bacteria once breads and cookies are fully baked. Eating raw or undercooked dough can lead to mild or more severe infections, especially in children and the elderly, says Dr. Block.

Food poisoning from E. coli or salmonella can cause nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. Serious cases may lead to dehydration and need hospitalization. About 450 people die in the U.S. each year from salmonella poisoning. E. coli infections cause about 60 deaths a year.

What about cookie dough ice creams sold in stores? Dr. Block says they are safe to eat because the dough in those items is pasteurized, killing off any bacteria.

You can protect your family by following food safety tips. The CDC and Dr. Block recommend:

 

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling raw flour and eggs.
  • Avoid touching the mouth, nose and eyes if your hands touch raw flour and eggs.
  • Disinfect all countertops, bowls, utensils, cutting boards and other surfaces after each use to avoid cross contamination.
  • Don’t let children play with or eat raw dough.
  • Follow recipe directions and fully cook anything with raw dough.
  • Keep raw foods, such as flour or eggs, separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they’re cooked.

 

Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends and remember — as the U.S. Department of Agriculture says — to “bake before you bite!”