The CDC wants people to stop eating raw cookie dough. But very tasty.

Raw cookie dough seems to be an irresistible temptation for many people. Whether they pick a piece out of the mixing bowl, lick the spoon used to scoop it up, or even bite right into a store-bought roll — they can’t help but ignore health authorities’ warnings not to eat it.

A salmonella outbreak linked to raw cookie dough has sickened at least 18 people in six states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two people were taken to hospital.

Nine of them reported eating raw cookie dough from Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake pizza, which has franchises across the country. Amid an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, the pizza chain said it has stopped selling its take-out chocolate chip cookie and S’mores Bars, and health authorities say customers who bought the products should get rid of them.

The CDC regularly warns people to stop eating raw dough, but admits that it’s a hard sell.

“When making cookies, cake, muffins, or bread, you may be tempted to savor a bite before it’s fully baked,” says the CDC. “But you can get sick after eating or tasting raw (not baked) dough or dough.”

Emily Nejad, The owner of Bon Vivant Cakes, a Chicago-based cake and cookie decorating school, understands this allure.

“The appeal of eating raw cookie dough is all about the texture,” she said. “People love the texture and variety, and cookie dough is the perfect combination of something soft and slightly creamy and chewy.”

However, she wonders if it is also about nostalgia.

“It takes me right back to the dorm rooms in fifth grade where you hang out, drinking soda, watching teen movies, going to town on cookie dough and packets of marshmallows,” she said.

Najad said she prefers crispy biscuits from the oven, but she tastes a small amount of raw cookie dough.

“If you’re a cook,” she said, “if you’re making people food, that’s just part of it.”

For cookie dough lovers, Ahmadinejad said there are ways to mitigate the risk of foodborne illness, such as making cookie dough using heat-treated flour and without eggs. The Washington Post has a recipe for one.

Why raw cookie dough can be unsafe

A 2010 Harvard School of Public Health poll found that 20 percent of Americans said they “often” eat products that may contain raw eggs, such as raw cookie dough, hollandaise sauce, Caesar dressing, or mayonnaise, while 50 percent said they did so occasionally. to another.

The potential problem with raw cookie dough is two primary ingredients.

Raw flour can be contaminated Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella, and unpasteurized eggs were also carriers of salmonella. Both bacteria are killed in the cooking process, but uncooked or undercooked contaminated food has been known to make people sick, according to the CDC.

These two bacteria are among the top five for causing foodborne illness in the united states, said dietitian lindsey malon.

Salmonella, specifically, can “infect the lining of the intestine and cause infectious colitis, which in turn presents clinically as diarrhea,” said Christine Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

The amount of food matters, he told me – those who consume more contaminated food are at greater risk of infection. She added that it is best to avoid eating raw biscuit dough.

Experts said those with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop a serious foodborne illness, which the Centers for Disease Control estimates affects 1 in 6 people each year in the United States.

Symptoms of some foodborne illnesses

coli infection symptoms usually appear within several days and may include severe stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms of a salmonella infection are similar, but may also include fever, according to the CDC.

With both illnesses, patients usually recover in less than a week — although people with a high fever over 102 degrees with diarrhea, diarrhea that doesn’t improve after three days, bloody stools, or those showing signs of dehydration — should Contact their health care provider, the CDC said.

Antibiotics are used to treat serious diseases.

To avoid potential infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends against eating raw cookie dough or cake mix, but commercial cookie dough ice cream is safe, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The company said Ben & Jerry’s, for example, uses heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs in its cookie dough ice cream to ensure it’s safe from bacterial contamination.

Even if people do not experience the taste of raw cookie dough, the CDC advises, they should wash their hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and clean all work surfaces, dishes, and utensils when working with raw eggs and flour.

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