Read This Before Eating Flour Again

There are few things as wonderful as freshly baked cookies, breads, or cakes. And for some of us, the wait can be so unbearable (particularly where cookies are concerned), it seems almost worth it to sneak in a couple of bites of dough — especially if we're talking about anything that has chocolate in it. 

But before you reach for a bite of dough, we'd like to recommend that you think again, and it's not just because dough makes use of raw eggs. There is another raw ingredient that should give you pause. 

Food poisoning expert Bill Marler tells Insider there is a list of items he wouldn't consider consuming in its uncooked form, and flour tops that list. The CDC makes no bones about what flour is: that while it doesn't look raw, it could still potentially contain harmful germs. Because it is grown in a field, flour can be exposed to all manner of germs that include Salmonella and E.coli; and both, according to MedicineNet, have been linked to food poisoning.

Why you want to steer clear of raw batter

On a page that many of us probably haven't thought to look, the CDC lists points that have to do with food safety and flour — that the ingredient is made from raw grains and that processing does nothing to kill off potentially harmful bacteria. It reminds us that most foods that are made with raw flour are also made with raw eggs, and the only way to make both ingredients safe is to cook them. As a result, the CDC is totally against the idea of consuming raw flour and uncooked dough or batter. 

And if we didn't need any further warning, the CDC also says there have been hospitalizations that have arisen as a result of consuming raw flour, cake mixes, and cookie dough. Food expert Bill Marler even goes so far as to tell Insider that you don't have to actually eat raw cookie dough or cake batter to get sick — not washing your hands after dealing with raw flour is enough to pick up E. coli if it's present.

By no means does this mean that family fun baking days are over — it just means more handwashing is needed to ensure everyone stays safe.