As much as we love the many, many presents being exchanged this time of year, we also really love baking and eating sweet holiday treats ... especially cookies! But we should do so with caution, the Federal Drug Administration has warned, yet again.
The FDA has long warned about the potential dangers of eating raw cookie dough because most recipes utilize uncooked eggs in the batter, but their latest warning is specific to a different, and somewhat surprising, raw ingredient: flour.
"Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” Dr. Leslie Smoot, a senior adviser in the FDA's Office of Food Safety, said in a statement.
Raw flour can be found in everything from raw cookie dough or batter to cake mixes, and while it's fine once cooked as directed, the ingredient can potentially put us at risk for ingesting bacteria like E.coli, which, of course, would kill that holiday spirit faster than running out of cookies.
According to the FDA's website, in 2016 there was an outbreak of infections believed to be related to raw dough, and dozens contracted a strain of bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. The investigation linked that raw dough to flour, not eggs, that contained the bacteria making people sick. In the aftermath, 10 million pounds of flour was recalled, including unbleached, all-purpose and self-rising varieties.
Of course, we've been warned plenty of times not to lick the spoon or consume raw dough — but it's always a bit of downer, especially as we're gearing up to make more holiday treats.
Earlier this summer, several lawsuits were filed against the Insta-famous cookie dough shop DO in New York City following claims from several customers who alleged that they got food poisoning after eating DO's dough.
In other cookie danger news, those who love a bit of shimmer on their sweets got a rude awakening this week with the revelation that those silver confection adornments, known as dragees, are actually unsafe for consumption.
So, eat all the cookies you want this holiday season, but just remember to bake them first and only use decoration that's clearly marked as being ok for eating.