Eating raw or undercooked dough may seem tempting, especially when making cookies or tasting pizza dough, but it does come with some risks. Dough made with raw eggs, flour, or raw milk carries a risk of foodborne illness if consumed before it’s fully cooked. Undercooking dough allows bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli to survive, which can lead to food poisoning. However, the chances of getting sick are low if dough contains pasteurized eggs, heat-treated flour, and no raw milk. Practicing proper food safety when handling and baking dough can further reduce risks.
What are the risks of eating raw dough?
There are two main risks associated with consuming raw dough:
Raw eggs used in dough may contain Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella causes symptoms like fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after ingestion. It can be serious for vulnerable groups like pregnant women, infants, young children, and the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates Salmonella causes 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths yearly in the U.S.
Flour may be contaminated with pathogenic E. coli strains like O157:H7. E. coli flour outbreaks have occurred in recent years. Symptoms include intense stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting 3-4 days after ingestion. 5-10% of cases lead to potentially life-threatening complications like kidney failure.
What ingredients make dough unsafe to eat raw?
Salmonella is the main concern with raw eggs. The bacteria can be on the outer shell or internally within eggs. Eating raw cookie dough with eggs poses a higher Salmonella risk than baked goods due to the heat killing bacteria during baking.
Raw flour may be contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella, or other pathogens during the milling process. Bacteria can survive refrigerated storage for long periods due to low moisture content. Thermal treatment during baking helps reduce bacteria counts.
Milk used in dough or batter can harbor dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter, and Staphylococcus aureus. Pasteurization helps destroy these pathogens. Consuming raw milk or raw milk products is not recommended.
Can you get sick from eating raw cookie dough?
Yes, there is a risk of illness when eating raw cookie dough containing raw eggs or flour.
– Salmonella risk from raw eggs. The eggs used in most cookie dough are raw and unpasteurized.
– E. coli risk from raw flour. Flour may be contaminated during grinding or storage at mills.
– Risk increases if dough also contains unpasteurized milk.
CDC estimates over 2 million people get sick yearly in the U.S. from eating contaminated raw dough or batter.
Reported outbreaks from raw dough
|Nestlé prepackaged cookie dough
|77 illnesses in 30 states
|General Mills flour
|63 illnesses in 24 states
|8 illnesses in 5 states
The risk of illness is lower for baked goods where the dough/batter is fully cooked.
Can you get sick from eating raw bread dough?
Yes, there is a possible risk when eating raw yeasted bread dough.
– Salmonella can survive the rising action of yeast.
– E. coli risk from contaminated flour.
– Raw milk in dough adds further risks.
Consuming raw dough prevents the bread baking process from killing potentially harmful bacteria. Cook bread thoroughly before eating.
Can you get sick from eating pizza dough?
Raw pizza dough poses a risk of illness due to:
– Raw flour that may contain E. coli.
– Raw eggs in dough recipes.
– Added risks if using raw milk.
Cooking pizza thoroughly is important to kill bacteria that may be present. Consuming raw pizza dough while preparing or tasting can make you sick.
Can you get sick from eating raw cake mix?
Yes, salmonella and E. coli risks apply to raw cake mix containing:
– Raw, unpasteurized eggs
– Raw flour
– Raw milk products
Prepackaged cake mixes use pasteurized liquid eggs and heat-treated flour for safety. But raw homemade cake mix with added eggs or flour carries a higher risk before baking fully.
Can you get sick from licking brownie batter?
Licking uncooked brownie batter off utensils poses potential risks:
– Raw eggs may contain Salmonella.
– Flour may be contaminated with E. coli.
– Added risk if mix contains raw milk.
Consuming raw brownie batter should be avoided, especially by vulnerable groups like pregnant women, children, elderly, or immunocompromised people. Safer options include:
– Using pasteurized eggs in homemade batters.
– Buying premade cookie dough where ingredients are treated for safety.
– Waiting to lick batter off utensils until after baking.
Can you get sick from eating Edible Cookie Dough?
Edible cookie dough sold commercially in stores has been treated to make it safe to eat raw:
– Eggs are pasteurized to kill salmonella.
– Flour undergoes heat treatment to kill E. coli and other pathogens.
– It doesn’t contain unpasteurized milk.
– Many recipes don’t use eggs at all.
As long as edible dough sticks to proper food safety practices during preparation, it poses a very low risk of food poisoning. Check labels to ensure eggs and flour have been treated if concerned.
Homemade edible dough may still pose a risk if using raw ingredients. Use pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour at home.
Can you get sick from eating raw pancake or waffle batter?
Salmonella and E. coli risks apply to raw pancake and waffle batter:
– Raw eggs used in batter are a salmonella risk.
– Raw flour in batter may contain E. coli.
– Raw milk also poses a risk.
It’s safer to wait until pancakes or waffles are fully cooked before eating. Avoid tasting batter before cooking.
Can raw batter containing eggs make you sick?
Yes, raw batter with raw eggs carries a risk of salmonella poisoning.
CDC recommends substituting raw eggs in batter and dough with:
– Commercial pasteurized egg products.
– Powdered egg whites or whole eggs.
– Pasteurized shell eggs.
Cooking batters and doughs thoroughly kills any bacteria present in eggs. Baked goods are safer as the high temps destroy salmonella.
Avoid tasting or consuming raw batter with unpasteurized eggs.
Can raw flour make you sick?
Yes, raw flour may contain pathogenic E. coli strains like O157:H7 which can lead to serious illness if consumed.
CDC reports several E. coli outbreaks linked to contaminated raw flour:
|63 infections across 24 states
|21 infections in 9 states
To reduce risk, do not taste or eat raw doughs or batters containing flour. Proper cooking kills bacteria in flour.
Can you get sick from tasting cookie dough with heat-treated flour?
Heat-treated flour has been briefly heated to kill pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella. Brands will indicate if flour has undergone heat treatment.
Tasting cookie dough made with heat-treated flour poses a much lower risk of illness. However, risks may remain if dough also contains:
– Raw eggs (salmonella risk)
– Raw milk (bacteria risk)
For safety, dough and batter should always be fully cooked regardless of the flour used. Avoid consuming raw.
Can you get sick from eating food at room temperature?
Bacteria grow rapidly on perishable foods left at room temperature for over 2 hours. Risks include:
– Salmonella from poultry, eggs, meat.
– E. coli from raw flour, raw sprouts.
– Listeria from deli meats.
– Staphylococcus aureus from creamed foods, salads.
Reheating food to proper temperatures helps kill bacteria. Discard perishable foods left out over 2 hours.
Keep hot cooked foods above 140°F and cold foods below 40°F. Avoid the danger zone between 40-140°F where bacteria thrive.
Can reheating dough make it safe to eat?
Proper reheating can help make raw or undercooked dough safer to eat by killing bacteria.
Follow these steps:
– Only reheat once. Discard dough if left at room temperature over 2 hours.
– Reheat to internal temperature of 165°F. Use a food thermometer to verify.
– Bring all parts of dough up to 165°F, including thickest areas.
– Maintain 165°F temperature for 2 minutes or more.
– Discard dough if not heated to proper temperature.
However, reheating may not eliminate all risks from flour or eggs. Refrigerating raw dough is safest, followed by cooking thoroughly before eating.
What are safe food handling practices for working with dough?
Follow food safety principles when handling, preparing, and storing dough:
– Wash hands and surfaces thoroughly before and after.
– Avoid cross-contaminating dough with raw eggs, meat, poultry. Use separate cutting boards.
– Refrigerate dough promptly after making, don’t leave at room temperature.
– Ensure dough ingredients are pasteurized, especially eggs and milk.
– Cook dough thoroughly to proper internal temperature when baking.
– Cool baked goods completely before icing or decorating.
– Discard uncooked dough or batter within 2 hours after preparing.
– Reheat leftovers thoroughly to 165°F.
Risk of illness from consuming raw dough is low but possible due to risks from raw eggs, flour, and milk. Vulnerable groups like pregnant women, children, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals should not eat raw or undercooked dough. Following food safety practices when preparing dough along with proper cooking temperatures can greatly reduce risk of foodborne illness. Commercial heat-treated dough and pasteurized eggs can provide safer alternatives for eating unbaked. However, fully baking any homemade dough before eating is the safest option.