CDC Warns Against Eating Raw Cookie Dough this Holiday Season

This holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want to remind folks celebrating the holidays to enjoy eating cookies, but stay away from eating cookie dough.

The CDC issued a warning earlier this week to "Say No to Raw Dough!" to remind bakers preparing for the holidays that eating raw dough is unsafe. The center stated that flour is a "raw agricultural product," and has not been treated to kill germs that could be linked to E. coli. The bacteria is killed when food made with flour is cooked. In 2016, an outbreak of E. coli infections was linked to raw flour and caused 63 people to fall ill, according to the site.

The center also noted that raw eggs, which can also be used for baking to make raw cookie dough can also make people sick. When used in batter or dough, raw eggs contain Salmonella and can cause people to get sick if consumed raw or lightly cooked.

A technician at the French firm Poult, specialized in the manufacture of cookies for supermarkets, checks on October 15, 2014, dough at company headquarters in the southwestern city of Montauban, which produces 340 million packs of cookies per year. The CDC issued a warning to people baking this holiday season to avoid eating raw cookie dough. REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images

The CDC has created a list of how to handle food while baking or cooking with flour and raw ingredients during the holidays. Here are a few ways to prevent getting sick while baking during the holiday season:

  • 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.

In November, the CDC urged people to throw away heads of lettuce and to stop consuming romaine lettuce in an alert due to an E. coli outbreak. The CDC also told consumers who were unsure if their salad mix contained romaine to throw it away as a precaution.

"Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick," the CDC warning read. "This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad."