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FDA warns: Raw dough could make you sick

Staff Writer |
Do you find it hard to resist gobbling up a piece of raw dough when making cookies, or letting your children scrape the bowl?

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Do your kids use raw dough to make ornaments or homemade “play” clay? Do you eat at family restaurants that give kids raw dough to play with while you’re waiting for the food?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, that could be a problem. Eating raw dough or batter—whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas—could make you, and your kids, sick, says Jenny Scott, a senior advisor in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

According to Scott, the bottom line for you and your kids is don’t eat raw dough. And even though there are websites devoted to “flour crafts,” don’t give your kids raw dough or baking mixes that contain flour to play with.

Why? Flour, regardless of the brand, can contain bacteria that cause disease. In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials, investigated an outbreak of infections that illustrated the dangers of eating raw dough.

Dozens of people across the country were 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 flour found in subsequent tests by the FDA to have the same bacterium that was making people sick.

Ten million pounds of flour were recalled, including unbleached, all-purpose, and self-rising varieties.

Some of the recalled flours had been sold to restaurants that allow children to play with dough made from the raw flour while waiting for their meals. CDC advises restaurants not to give customers raw dough.


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