Please DON`T eat Cookie Dough!

July 12, 2016
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If you have fond childhood memories of licking the mixing spoon after mom finished making cookies, this new FDA consumer update will most certainly be a buzzkill.

This consumer update is in light of a recent outbreak of people sickened by a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 0121. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stresses potential diarrhea and stomach pain isn’t worth that taste of delicious cookie dough. 

You might be surprised to hear it’s not Salmonella from raw eggs in cookie dough that has the FDA worried. Nope. The culprit in this recent outbreak is actually flour.

The lowdown

The FDA — in addition to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials — is investigating the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreak. This investigation found that raw dough eaten or handled by some of the patients was made with General Mills flour from a Kansas City, Missouri, facility. Tests by the FDA linked bacteria in a flour sample to bacteria from people who had become ill.

General Mills announced a voluntary recall of 10 million pounds of flour sold under three brand names: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s and Gold Medal Wondra. Some of the recalled flours had been sold to restaurants that let children play with dough made from the raw flour while waiting for their meals. The CDC is now advising restaurants not to give their customers raw dough.

So who is at risk?

Parents of young children should be particularly wary, even if they don’t allow raw cookie dough tasting at home. Here’s a possible scenario: Your child is in day care or kindergarten, a common activity may be using “play” clay that is homemade from raw dough. Even if they’re not directly eating the dough, they are probably sticking their hands in their mouths after handling it. The FDA says childcare facilities and preschools should discourage the practice of playing with raw dough.

Symptoms: Common symptoms for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli are diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps. Most people recover within a week.

However, some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. These can result in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). While HUS can occur in people of any age, it’s most common in children younger than 5 years old, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

The FDA provides the following tips for safe food handling in order to keep your family healthy:

  • Don’t eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Keep in mind that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
  • Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
  • Follow label directions to chill products that contain raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

For more information about this consumer update from the FDA, click here.

4 Comments

  1. Misty Peacock Irwin

    September 28, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Laney Irwin

  2. Sonia Wilson

    September 28, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Jeramey Wilson

  3. Saraha Smith

    September 28, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Shakiea Smith

  4. Diana Kni

    September 29, 2016 at 2:19 am

    Nancy Kiniping

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