This week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an official recommendation that no one should ever eat raw cookie dough. Ever. Also, Christmas is canceled. And your puppy is dead went away to a farm.
Turns out, it's not just the eggs that'll get you with salmonella, it's the E. coli in the flour. "The bottom line for you and your kids is don't eat raw dough," the FDA website declares. "And even though there are websites devoted to 'flour crafts,' don't give your kids raw dough or baking mixes that contain flour to play with. Why? Flour, regardless of the brand, can contain bacteria that cause disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials, is investigating an outbreak of infections that illustrates the dangers of eating raw dough."
"Outbreak" sounds bad, and 10 million pounds of flour were subject to a recall last year. In the end, though, the CDC reports that 38 people were sickened by the flour in a 2015 incident, only 10 of whom were hospitalized. No one died, as far as I can tell. As always, the delight and happiness of millions of children (and adults, let's be honest) are not factored anywhere into the equation.
Ben & Jerry's spokesman Lindsay Bumps says that "food safety is a top priority for Ben & Jerry's. In addition to a rigorous food safety program, the supplier of our cookie dough uses heat treated flour in the production of our cookie dough therefore there is no bacterial contamination. Ben & Jerry's cookie dough is unaffected" by the 2015 recall or, presumably, the current panic.
My prediction: Some time in the not-too-distant future, you will be able to easily buy (probably at Whole Foods) heat-treated flour explicitly for use in home baking and kid projects where the dough might be consumed. Entrepreneurs: I expect my cut when you make your first billion with this idea. I accept payment in raw cookie dough.