- Dough for crafts as well as play clay should not be handled or played with by kids.
- If you eat raw dough, uncooked flour and raw eggs may contain pathogens that will make you ill.
- After handling uncooked flour, eggs, or dough, wash your hands, bowls, utensils, and counters.
Read Harlee’s account to see what transpired when she consumed uncooked batter and developed an E. coli infection.
Baking with family is a wonderful way to commemorate memorable occasions. You might be tempted to take a bite of your baked goods before they are completely done, such as cookies, brownies, cakes, or bread.
However, eating or tasting unbaked (raw) dough or batter can make you sick. When handling or consuming raw dough used for crafts or play clay, children are also susceptible to illness. Use these safety recommendations to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while handling and preparing uncooked dough.
Raw Dough Can Contain Germs That Make You Sick
Although most flour is raw, it doesn’t look like a raw food. That indicates that it hasn’t been treated to eradicate bacteria like Escherichia coli that cause food illness (E. coli). These dangerous microorganisms have the ability to contaminate flour production as well as grain while it is still in the field. The hazardous microorganisms that can end up in flour or baking mixes that you purchase at the store can survive steps like grinding grain and bleaching flour. If you consume unbaked dough or batter made with contaminated flour, you risk becoming ill. Only when food prepared with flour is baked or cooked do germs get eliminated.
Another element in dough and batter that might be harmful to you or your loved ones is raw eggs. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause food poisoning and can be found in raw or barely cooked eggs. Learn the right methods for handling and cooking eggs.
Some businesses produce brownie and cookie batter that is sold in stores. These goods are manufactured using pasteurised eggs or without eggs and heat-treated flour. Make sure the dough is intended for eating without baking or cooking by carefully reading the label.
Stay Safe When Handling Flour and Other Raw Ingredients
Use these procedures while baking and cooking with flour and other raw ingredients to avoid food poisoning.
- Never taste or consume any raw batter or dough. This includes batter or dough for baked goods like cookies, brownies, cakes, tortillas, pizza, and pancakes as well as crafts created with raw flour, including homemade play dough or Christmas decorations.
- Never let kids eat or play with raw dough, even dough used for crafts.
- Before consuming, bake batter and raw dough, such as cookie dough and cake mix.
- Cooking or baking instructions should be followed exactly. Utilize the cooking temperature and duration specified in the recipe or instructions.
- Products like cake mix that include raw flour should not be used to make milkshakes.
- Ice cream shouldn’t contain uncooked handmade cookie dough.
- cookie batter Dough used to make store-bought ice cream has been treated to eradicate dangerous microbes.
- Separate raw goods like flour and eggs from prepared foods. Since flour is a powder, it spreads effortlessly.
- Before baking or cooking, store products containing uncooked dough or eggs in the refrigerator according to the instructions on the package (for example, store-bought cookie dough).
What health effects might consuming raw flour cause?
Yes, E. coli can be present in uncooked flour. Although it is processed (i.e., ground and bleached) to form flour, no actions are taken to destroy any potentially hazardous bacteria that may be present in the field or at later stages of flour production.
In recent years (2016 and 2019), there have been two E. coli outbreaks connected to uncooked flour. More than 80 people became ill as a result of these outbreaks, and 20 of them were hospitalised.
Abdominal cramps, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), nausea, and vomiting are some of the symptoms that can appear 3 to 4 days after intake. The majority of people who have it self-heal. The hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure, stroke, and death, can, nevertheless, strike certain people (including those with healthy immune systems).
How can raw flour be made safe to consume?
Follow these steps to confirm that raw flour is safe to consume or taste: It’s as easy as this: to destroy the germs, raw flour must be cooked to at least 165 F (74 C). Both the oven and the microwave can be used to heat-treat the flour.
What makes me want raw flour?
While there are many possible causes for cravings, including psychological ones, a strong craving typically means your body is deficient in a certain food, vitamin, or mineral. The need to ensure that it receives what it requires can be seen in the longing. Today’s challenge is that we have access to so much processed, synthetic food that we frequently lose track of what our bodies are genuinely requesting. The foods you crave might not include that nutrient, and frequently, people eat unhealthy empty calories in place of wholefoods that are high in nutrients.
Understanding the potential meaning of our appetites may enable us to change harmful eating and lifestyle patterns.
Stress, loneliness, low serotonin and dopamine levels, sadness, low blood sugar, boredom, and other factors can also contribute to overeating. This topic of hunger vs. appetite is covered in more detail in this article. This is a key component of each of our Guided Reboot Programs as well. Find out more about how our weight-loss programmes can assist you in overcoming unneeded cravings.
What’s the Deal with Cravings?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that sugar can have an impact on the same brain areas as drugs and alcohol. Sugar can temporarily lift someone’s mood, but it can also cause a major decline in feeling good about oneself. When this happens, people are more likely to grab for a sugary snack. They will be set up for an addicted loop by this pattern. Here is further information on the differences between added and natural sugars.
Because the foods one chooses to eat change even while the basic ingredients stay the same, food or sugar addiction frequently goes unreported. Consider a scenario where a person wakes up, drinks a glass of bottled juice (high in sugar and low in nutrients), eats processed cereal made with white flour and sugar for breakfast, snacks on biscuits or muffins in the middle of the morning, a sandwich, pasta, or noodles for lunch, a sweet treat for afternoon tea, and then runs out to get something fast for dinner like a hamburger or slice of pizza.
This person ate primarily white flour and sugar along with some unhealthy fats for good measure. This person may perceive their eating habits as different, but in reality, they were the same. They frequently experience strong daily cravings for processed carbohydrates and sugar and may not even be aware of it because it comes so naturally to them.
Additionally, regular meals will be closer to what your body naturally craves. When a patient claims that they never crave veggies but frequently crave sugar and salt, I can almost always assume that they don’t want vegetables because, in some ways, their bodies have forgotten they are necessary. Something you consume infrequently can’t actually make you crave it. Thus, committing to a Guided Reboot will get the body involved and remind it of what it genuinely needs and wants. People who have been consistently juicing for a while frequently discover that if they quit, they truly miss it and notice a difference in their energy, clarity of brain, and vitality.
Unhealthy food cravings pose a risk since they may encourage binge eating in some people. Given that it will increase the risk of obesity and bad health, this could be a severe health hazard.
Therefore, the following is a general reference to what your body may genuinely require when you have a yearning for a certain item.
What your dietary cravings indicate:
The requirement for magnesium, chromium, B vitamins, and/or critical fatty acids may be indicated by reaching for the chocolate bar. Since chocolate contains a lot of magnesium, it is preferable to use 100% cocoa in smoothies, consume nibs as a snack, or indulge in the darkest chocolate you can find. A post about squelching chocolate cravings is available here. Cravings may also be tied to an emotional need because chocolate is also metabolised to serotonin, a hormone that improves mood. Reach for a loved one, friend, pet, or any activity that makes you feel good in addition to the nutritious cocoa or dark chocolate.
Craving processed flours could be a sign of weariness, chromium insufficiency, hypoglycemia (blood sugar swings), or insulin resistance. People frequently have desires for foods like crackers, savoury biscuits, noodles, white breads, chips, etc., which are distinct from sweet cravings and frequently go unreported. To combat this temptation, increase your intake of chromium and magnesium-rich fruits and vegetables such bananas, apples, apricots, capsicum, spinach, beetroot, avocado, broccoli, celery, chard (silverbeet), carrots, and parsnips as well as more fibre for better blood sugar regulation.
Oh, sweets. When you want it, this could be a sign of mineral shortages like magnesium and chromium as well as blood sugar problems. Giving in to cravings for refined foods like cookies, cakes, candies, soft drinks, or other biscuits will only exacerbate the issue and send blood sugar roller coasters, which in turn trigger further desires. When you want something sweet, pick a piece of fruit as an alternative. More details on controlling your sugar intake during rebooting can be found here. The need for additional water may be indicated by sugar cravings, which are more frequent when you are dehydrated.
Do you really need those chips? Low amounts of electrolytes and variations in stress hormones might make this worse. More details on increasing electrolytes in your diet and during a reboot may be found here. Foods high in B vitamins are crucial during stressful times. Consume foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Similar to sugar cravings, dehydration can cause salt cravings.
Eat additional high-quality fats to quickly address a simple essential fatty acid shortage that may be the cause of craving fried and other oily meals. More details on the ideal fats and oils to include in your diet are provided here.
Cravings for things other than food, such ice, clay, soil, or chalk, are frequently signs of an iron deficit or a general mineral insufficiency. To prevent pica, eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. This occurs more commonly in kids and during times when people need extra nutrients, including during pregnancy.
Note that this list is merely illustrative; various people’s appetites may have different meanings.
Can you eat flour that hasn’t been cooked?
While intentionally consuming raw flour directly from the trash may not have crossed your mind, there are other, more frequent methods for people to inadvertently swallow raw flour. Here are some suggestions to make sure you don’t:
Never consume raw cookie dough, cake batter, or other flour-based concoctions.
When making crafts, stay away from using uncooked flour because kids are more prone to eat it.
Consuming raw flour is never safe. You might be putting yourself in contact with bacteria, animal waste, or other pollutants. Before eating, ensure sure all items that include raw wheat are thoroughly boiled. This could make a huge difference in your health. Study the process of heating flour.
How frequently is E. coli found in flour?
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) released a comprehensive paper early in 2020 on the causes, dangers, and mitigation of pathogenic E. coli in flour (and products containing raw flour). According to a survey conducted in Germany, between 10% and 30% of flour samples tested contained Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC), a virus that can lead to widespread outbreaks of serious illness.
Products containing raw flour that are not thoroughly boiled before consumption are clearly the sources of the dangers. Raw doughs, cake, and cookie mix are among examples. These threats are not hypothetical. A STEC outbreak connected to uncooked flour in the USA in 2019 impacted 21 people, while a flour-related outbreak in 2016 affected 63 people and resulted in 17 hospitalizations and one person developing a severe kidney illness.
The BfR report states that these organisms can survive in flour stored under ambient temperatures for at least nine months in addition to their high prevalence in recently manufactured flour. This period is shorter at high temperatures but lengthens as the temperature drops below ambient.
Some food producers have changed to utilising heat-treated flour in goods that might not be fully cooked before consumption in response to this concern (e.g. cookie doughs, or products using dusting flour). However, the data demonstrates that in the low water activity conditions of flour, STEC’s heat resistance increases. The D values, or the time required to reduce cell populations by a factor of 10, were reported as ranging from 5.75 to 18.2 minutes at 70C for wheat flour with a water activity of 0.45. This indicates that the organisms in the wheat flour are far more heat resistant than the same organisms under conditions of high water activity, when a reduction of the same magnitude would take place in about 20 seconds.
The paper lists many proposed safeguards that might reduce the hazards to food safety. These are predicated on the understanding that flour is a raw material that might be contaminated with microorganisms. The controls consist of:
- separating flour from prepared meals
- using different tools for flour processes
- washing hands after handling flour, and
- avoiding eating unbaked goods
The paper also emphasises that cooking at 70C for two minutes is adequate to kill these organisms in wet items (such as doughs) (a six log reduction). STEC are not eliminated from dry flour at a temperature of 70C unless lengthy processing durations are employed.
Microbiological risk assessment and heat process validation are services provided by Campden BRI. For accredited STEC testing, get in touch with Campden BRI or go to www.campdenbri.co.uk.
Fellow Roy Betts works for Campden BRI, a UK-based independent worldwide food consultancy and research organisation. His responsibility is to keep the industry fully informed about all microbiological issues and to assist businesses in responding to and managing microbiological problems that affect them and their goods. Roy oversaw a sizable microbiology division at Campden BRI prior to embarking on this position. His areas of expertise included test method development and validation as well as incident and crisis management. In the field of food microbiology, Roy has published widely and serves on a number of committees.