Diane Diederich

Is cookie dough dangerous to eat?

Cookie dough has been a favorite of young children and adults alike. Strange as it seems, cookie dough has a particular taste that some people find better than the finished product. It has long been a staple in households, and a fair number of cookie dough rolls never make it to the baking pan. Even if they do, kids and parents alike might’ve licked the bowl or cleaned the spatula. However, eating cookie dough in this state comes with some risks that may not be worth the potential problems.

The most glaring issue with eating cookie dough is the potential for E. Coli infection. The CDC states that cookie dough has not been treated to kill germs and bacteria, as it includes raw flour. This creates the potential for food-borne illnesses to affect people who eat raw cookie dough. From 2016-2019, there were two outbreaks of E.coli related to raw flour that made roughly 80 people sick. Flour-based products tend to have a long shelf life as well. It’s important to review flour-based products, cookie dough especially, to make sure there haven’t been any recalls from the parent company. These sort of outbreaks aren’t limited to smaller brands; both Aldi’s brand and Pillsbury were linked in the E.coli outbreaks mentioned above.

In addition to the risks of raw flour, there is also the potential for salmonella due to the inclusion of raw eggs in cookie dough ingredients. Eggs are often treated before being included as ingredients, but mistakes can still be made in the preparation. Salmonella causes serious digestion issues that can affect the bowels for months even after major symptoms are cleared. Salmonella itself also kills around 450 people annually. If someone is lacking the proper vaccination, it can also carry a strain of typhoid fever that can be potentially fatal.

There are ways to avoid those risks. The most obvious option is to give up eating cookie dough. The final product is cleared of bacteria and germs through being baked. However, there are some companies that offer edible cookie dough products that do not carry the risks of bacteria. The best way to tell the difference in products is to look on the label to see if the company advertises the cookie dough as edible in a raw state. Cookie dough might be dangerous be dangerous to eat, but cookie dough enthusiasts can still enjoy their favorite snack as long as they take the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.