For years, raw chocolate chip cookie dough was a forbidden treat. Everyone said — rightly or wrongly — that you shouldn’t consume it because the uncooked eggs could make you sick. Then came special commercial dough preparations that worked around that, and there was much rejoicing (and many ice cream sales). But now, alas, cookie dough is back off the table, as are any other uncooked treats… and this time, it’s all down to the flour.
You know how we’re in the midst of that nationwide E. Coli outbreak linked to now-recalled General Mills (Gold Medal) flour? Yeah. This is another piece of fallout from that. Because consuming contaminated flour without cooking it first is a great way to get yourself some E. Coli, and that is a thing you do not want.
That’s why the FDA this week has published a consumer advisory telling consumers to quit licking the spoon already during baking time, among other things.
Specifically, they advise against eating, handling, or playing with any raw dough or batter that contains flour in it at this time, and that’s a broad category — way more than just cookies. Rolling out a home-made pizza, pie, or tortilla? Stirring up a cake or brownie batter? Wash your hands, don’t lick that spoon, and be super careful.
The advice also includes any home-made dough for kids’ “flour crafts,” as well as any lumps of dough kids may be handed at restaurants — doubly important, since toddlers are not exactly known for their overall hand-washing skills and are fairly likely to gnaw on basically anything just because they can.
The good news is: the commercially-made stuff is still okay, so you can go buy a pint of cookie dough ice cream and gobble it down to your heart’s content. Industrially-produced cookie dough is (or at least, should be) made with both pasteurized eggs and treated flour.
Along with their warning, the FDA offers advice on how to handle foods safely and a description of E Coli symptoms.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.