For many, one of the best parts of making cookies for the holidays is the spoonful (or 10) of raw dough snuck from the bowl before it’s scooped, baked and turned into actual cookies.
Well, the health experts at the Centers for Disease Control say eating unbaked products can technically “make you sick.”
That’s because the uncooked eggs in cookie dough could be contaminated with salmonella. The CDC estimates there are over 1 million cases of salmonella illnesses in the U.S. each year, usually caused by contaminated food. While salmonella isn’t typically dangerous, food poisoning is not an ideal way to spend your holidays.
Perhaps surprisingly, the uncooked flour in cookie dough is also a concern, according to the CDC. Flour isn’t treated to kill germs like E. coli, and while cooking usually takes care of these germs, they can still be present if the dough is raw. Some flour has even been recalled due to E. coli contamination. Similar to salmonella, E. coli infections aren’t usually serious, but would definitely hamper your holidays with more time spent in the bathroom than usual.
Hypothetically, if you give in to temptation and sneak a scoop of raw dough, you’ll know whether it was worth it in pretty short order. Stomach cramps and diarrhea are typical symptoms of food poisoning, and occur within six to 48 hours in the case of salmonella, but can take three to four days in the case of E. coli.
Except in serious cases, it usually takes about a week to recover. So snack wisely.