Don't Eat Raw Cookie Dough, FDA Warns After E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Flour

PHOTO: Close up of chocolate chip cookie dough in this undated photo.PlayGetty Images
WATCH Don't Eat Raw Cookie Dough, FDA Warns After E. Coli Outbreak

Cookie dough may be tempting to taste before it's been baked, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning people to resist that temptation due to concerns that the dough could be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

Dozens of people have been sickened due to an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 linked to flour, prompting the FDA to issue a warning on Wednesday to avoid eating raw cookie dough or batter -- whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas.

The E. coli outbreak in at least 20 states, likely caused by flour, was reported earlier this month, by the CDC and led General Mills to voluntarily recall 10 million pounds of flour.

The products were sold under the names Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s, and Gold Medal Wondra. At least 38 people have been infected with E. coli in the flour-related outbreak, including 10 people who were hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri, is believed to be the source of the outbreak, CDC officials said earlier this month. General Mills said that the FDA has confirmed one sample from its recalled flour tested positive for E. coli O121.

“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” Leslie Smoot, a senior adviser in FDA’s Office of Food Safety and a specialist in the microbiological safety of processed foods, said in a statement.

E. coli can be killed through common cooking methods, including baking, boiling, roasting or frying. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and in rare situations kidney failure.