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It's delicious but not worth getting very sick

Margaret Eby
December 10, 2018

The holidays are all about sweets. Cakes and brownies and yule logs and doughnuts and yes, of course, cookies. What else would you leave out for Santa? A granola bar? Rude. And everyone knows the very best part of making cookies is sneaking little bits of the dough as you make them. There are whole restaurants devoted to all that is good about raw cookie dough. But the CDC, those people who warn us when the lettuce is safe to eat and when it's not, has a dire warning for all you holiday cookie revelers out there: Do. Not. Lick. The. Spoon. 

"Eating or tasting unbaked products that are intended to be cooked, such as dough or batter, can make you sick. Children can get sick from handling or eating raw dough used for crafts or play clay, too," the CDC announced on their website. 

You might think the culprit in raw dough that could make you sick is the raw eggs. Eating a raw egg does indeed up your chances of getting Salmonella, which is an extremely unfun illness to contract. Nothing like abdominal crampes to ruin your winter vacation! But actually, even if you're making a dough that has no egg in it, you could still be at risk. That's because E. coli can also be lurking in raw flour. The bacteria are killed when the flour is cooked, but before that, you could be at risk for a gnarly gastrointestinal illness, including, per the CDC, "severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting." Oh boy. No thank you!

The symptoms of E. coli don't show up immediately either—they'll be in touch in three to four days, just in time for you to wonder if you got food posioning from someone's casserole at a holiday party. Nope! It was the cookies all along. It's a buzzkill, but better to forsake the sweet, sweet temptations of raw cookie dough then get really ill. Also? Remember to wash your hands after handling cookie dough. It would be terrible to have avoided snacking on dough and get sick anyway from the dough remnants on your hands. Yeesh. 


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