As we get into the holiday baking season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to remind you that eating raw cookie dough, cake mixes and bread can make you sick.
The CDC said flour is typically a raw agricultural product which hasn't been treated to kill germs like E.coli. The bacteria is killed when food made with flour is cooked.
Sixty-three people got sick in 2016 as a result of an E.coli outbreak linked to raw flour. The CDC said people usually get sick three to four days after being infected with E.coli. Most people recover in a week, but some can develop serious kidney failure.
Raw eggs used in raw dough or batter can contain Salmonella. Properly cooking or baking them can kill the bacteria.
Salmonella infections can occur six to 48 hours after eating contaminated food. The illness lasts four to seven days. It is more dangerous for older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems.
"Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too," the CDC warns on its website.
This is the advice the CDC gives for proper food handling when baking and cooking with flour and other raw ingredients:
- Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments.
- Do not let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough for crafts.
- Bake or cook raw dough and batter, such as cookie dough and cake mix, before eating.
- Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking at the proper temperature and for the specified time.
- Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw flour, such as cake mix.
- Do not use raw, homemade cookie dough in ice cream.
- Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria.
- Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready-to eat-foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily.
- Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are cooked.
- Clean up thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough:
- Wash your hands with running water and soap after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces that they have touched.
- Wash bowls, utensils, countertops, and other surfaces with warm, soapy water.
Information from the CDC website contributed to this story.