A page on the CDC's website called "Say No to Raw Dough!" explains all the risks of indulging in raw cookie dough

By Emily Zauzmer
December 10, 2018 02:25 PM
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The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has a simple message for people who love to sneak in a few bites of raw cookie dough: Resist the urge.

As the holidays approach, a page on the CDC’s website called “Say No to Raw Dough!” explains all the risks of indulging in a treat that some foodies would argue is yummier than the cookie itself.

“When you prepare homemade cookie dough, cake mixes, or even bread, you may be tempted to taste a bite before it is fully cooked,” the CDC says. “But steer clear of this temptation — eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick.”

The CDC warns that young people using dough for art projects are at risk as well. “Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too,” the website says.

Credit: Getty

Why should you refrain? As the CDC explains, cookie dough contains flour that could have bacteria and eggs that could carry salmonella. The dough must be cooked in order to kill off the bacteria and salmonella — so people who snack on raw dough are endangering themselves.

The ramifications are real: “In 2016, an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to raw flour made 63 people sick,” the CDC says.

The CDC offers a number of tips for making sure that holiday sweets do not leave celebrants with food poisoning — including separating flour and eggs from other foods and skipping making ice cream with raw cookie dough.

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That doesn’t mean that ice cream devotees cannot get their favorite flavor. “Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria,” the CDC says.

Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration, offered a simple, Dr. Seuss-esque way to remember the rules.

“You can not eat it in a house. You can not eat it with a mouse,” he tweeted. “We do not like it here or there. We do not like it anywhere. We do not like raw chocolate chip cookie dough, we do not like it, #FDA we are.”