Be careful when you’re baking, as licking the raw dough or cake batter off the spoon is a bad idea. A recent report has revealed this habit might put you at risk of getting infected with E. coli, as the bacteria could thrive in raw flour.
E. coli can thrive in flour
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a number of 63 cases of E. coli infections between December 2015 and September 2016. Two of these victims later admitted they had eaten raw dough while baking cookies. Interestingly enough, they had both used the same brand of flour while preparing the dough.
In some cases, an E. coli infection can turn out really serious. One of these 63 patients ended up developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition which is a type of kidney failure. Therefore, health officials investigated more thoroughly, and managed to identify the strain of bacteria which caused the epidemic. The culprit belonged to the serogroup O121, and they detected the cause behind it as raw flour consumption.
E. coli usually thrives in wet environments, such as vegetable leaves or raw hamburger meat. However, it turns out that it can still live in desiccated compounds. Once the flour was mixed with ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk, it returned to its active state, infecting the raw dough.
Removing the bacteria from flour is not viable, to it’s better to avoid eating raw dough
Fortunately, researchers discovered this connection right before the holiday season. This way, people will know eating raw dough is a bad idea, even after the recall of the flour brand which started the E. coli outbreak. The experts don’t want to destroy anyone’s holidays, as this is only a warning. On the contrary, they want everybody to enjoy themselves without getting infected with the bacteria right before Christmas.
There are certain ways to annihilate the E. coli in flour. However, US scientists don’t use them, as they heat treatment. They can affect the quality of the flour and, afterwards, of the baked food. Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and avoid eating raw dough.