The surprising reason the FDA is telling you not to eat cookie dough (and it’s not eggs)

Flour can be contaminated with E. coli, which is why the FDA is discouraging people from eating raw doughs of any kind. The agency has gone so far as to recommend that parents don’t make homemade Play-Doh for their kids, either. Photo by Reshma Kirpalani.

Eggs have always been the reason why you’re “not supposed to eat cookie dough.”

I put that phrase in quotation marks because, let’s be honest, most of us eat cookie dough anyway because we know that the chances of getting sick from salmonella are pretty low.

But now we have something else to worry about: E. coli that has been discovered in uncooked flour, which triggered an enormous General Mills recall a few weeks ago.

This week, the FDA released a report detailing the dangers of eating uncooked flour, telling consumers that they need to be on alert for raw flour of any brand. They went so far as to tell parents and caregivers not to allow children to play with homemade Play-Doh.

From the report:

Flour, regardless of the brand, can contain bacteria that cause disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials, is investigating an outbreak of infections that illustrates the dangers of eating raw dough. Dozens of people across the country have been sickened by a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121.

The investigation found that raw dough eaten or handled by some of the patients was made with General Mills flour produced in a Kansas City, Missouri, facility. Subsequent tests by the FDA linked bacteria in a flour sample to bacteria from people who had become ill.

Proceed with caution, friends.


Author: Addie Broyles

Food writer for the Austin American-Statesman and

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