Are you guilty of licking the spoon and sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough? Well, experts say don't do it! There's a surprising ingredient that could make you sick.
Raw cookie batter or dough, whether home-made or store-bought, should be destined for your oven, not your mouth. New research pinpoints a culprit in cookie mixes and dough that can cause an e. Coli illness.
Scientists pegged the problem on the unpasteurized flour after studying the e. Coli outbreak that occurred in the U.S. in 2009 with the Nestle's Toll House brand.
"The store-bought cookie dough, the problem wasn't with the eggs because the eggs were actually pasteurized," says Denise Cole, a registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic. "The problem was with the flour. It was not pasteurized. And when you do that, you get rid of all of those bad pathogens. So, when you're making it at home, you really want to watch for the eggs because they will carry salmonella when they're not cooked. When you're buying it from the store, they found that problem is in the flour."
All of the other ingredients undergo a process to kill bacteria and viruses – except the flour. It is the only raw product in cookie dough.
"The bottom line is, you probably don't want to eat raw cookie dough. Especially if you're having some issue with your health or you're very young or an elderly person, or have some kind of immune-compromised system, it's probably not a good idea to be eating cookie dough," says Cole.
And experts agree – that includes your own homemade batter. The same goes for any product that is supposed to be cooked or baked that contains flour, including cake and biscuit batter.
But if the temptation is too great, stick to cookie dough-flavored products. Cookie dough ice cream and cookie dough bites are processed in a way that makes them safe to eat.
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