The holiday season has many consumers busy with seeing family and friends, and spending tons of time in the kitchen cooking and baking.
To make sure whatever cookies, cakes, or breads are perfect before going in the oven, many people are tempted to take small bites or tastes of the raw dough.
Though this may be the best part of baking for some people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning consumers to fight the temptation this holiday as best they can because consuming raw dough can lead to several illnesses.
What causes sickness?
According to the CDC, both flour and eggs can cause several different illnesses, which can include E.coli, salmonella, or food poisoning.
Eating raw eggs has countless health implications, but perhaps most notable is salmonella. The germ isn’t dangerous to consumers once the eggs have been cooked all the way through; however, the CDC notes that even just a taste of the raw product can be harmful.
Similarly, flour has bacteria that gets killed once dough is cooked. In its natural state, it can contain E. coli. The CDC encourages consumers to be aware of any symptoms of sickness if they come in contact with raw dough.
Sickness associated with salmonella typically occurs six to 48 hours after consuming something contaminated, and the illness usually lasts for four to seven days. Those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and infants, can be hit the hardest by salmonella.
Both E.coli and food poisoning differ depending on the person, but most symptoms will start to show after about three or four days. Symptoms for all infections include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and sometimes fever.
Helpful tips to follow in the kitchen
The CDC offers consumers several ways to avoid illness when cooking and baking this holiday season.
For starters, the agency warns against eating -- in any increment -- any rough daw, regardless of what it’s for -- desserts, breads, or breakfast foods. If the dough isn’t cooked all the way through, there is still a chance for consumers to get sick. Following cooking directions for both time and temperature are key to avoiding sickness.
Consumers should also make sure foods like eggs and milk are refrigerated and kept separate from things like flour or baking soda.
When handling raw eggs or raw dough, the CDC encourages consumers to make sure to wash their hands with soap and water and also wipe down any surfaces or kitchen utensils that come in contact with the dough.
The agency says parents should ensure their children steer clear of eating any raw dough. Arts and crafts projects sometimes include dough or clay, and because many children naturally go to put things in their mouths, it’s important for parents to watch them carefully.