Avoid Eating Raw Cookie Dough Amid E.Coli Fears, Says FDA
Avoid Eating Raw Cookie Dough Amid E.Coli Fears, Says FDA

No more licking the bowl, warns the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Raw cookie dough and batter is off-limits due to contaminated flour that could result in E.coli, the FDA said on June 28. 

Dozens of people across the country have been sickened by a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121, and the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local officials are investigating.

General Mills voluntarily recalled 10 million pounds of flour in May after learning the outbreak was linked to it. The flour containing the bacteria were sold under three brand names: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s, and Gold Medal Wondra. A full list is here.

Some strains of E. coli can cause illness at very low doses, so while larger portions increase risk, small portions can also cause illness, said Jenny Scott, senior advisor on food safety for the FDA.

Thirty eight people from 30 states have been infected, said Scott. Flour is the likely source of these illnesses—several ill persons reported tasting raw homemade dough or batter when baking and others reported eating or playing with raw dough at restaurants.

Two-thirds of those who got sick were under 19 years, and 71 percent were female, Scott said. 

Ten of those who were infected were hospitalized.

The FDA urges all consumers to throw away any recalled flour they have.

The agency urges everyone to wash their hands before and after handling flour, and not eat flour that has not been cooked or baked.

Children under the age of five, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems are most at risk for E.coli infections.

Common symptoms for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli are diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps, although most people recover within a week, the FDA said. But some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

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