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Food Safety Focus: Raw Flour

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

Growing up, you may have fond memories of “helping” the adults in your life make brownies and arguing with siblings over who got to lick the bowl. By now, you probably have heard the rule about not eating raw brownie batter (or cookie dough and so on…) because of the risk of Salmonella in raw, unpasteurized eggs. But probably less well known is that you should treat raw flour the same way – whether using it to bake a cake or make homemade playdough.

Is Raw Flour a Foodborne Risk?

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Up until around 2009, raw flour was considered a low-risk food for causing foodborne illness because of its low moisture content. But due to E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched educational campaigns to provide information on risks associated with improper handling of raw, or unheated, flour.

Since flour is a raw agricultural product made from plants like wheat, oat, etc., it can be exposed to harmful germs while growing, and harvested, in field. And since flour is not treated with heat during production to kill bacteria, it’s possible for bacteria to remain in products like bagged flour, cake mix or refrigerated cookie dough. 

Once these products are cooked properly, though, any bacteria present should be killed and thereby making the foods safe to eat.

Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe When Handling Flour


  • If transferring flour to a separate container for storage, make note of brand and use-by date in case of a recall. Wash container well before refilling with a new bag of flour.
  • Avoid letting small children, who may put their hands in their mouth, make crafts using raw flour. Older children should wash their hands immediately after playing with crafts like homemade ornaments, playdough or paper mâché.
  • Never taste raw batters or doughs that contain flour and always follow recipe cooking instructions.
  • Do not use raw cookie dough in ice cream or cake mix in milkshakes.
  • Wash hands, surfaces, cooking equipment and utensils after working with flour or mixes that contain flour.

Safe Egg- and Flour-Free Dessert Alternative

While kiddos growing up these days won’t have the same joy of licking traditional brownie batter out of the bowl, the egg- and flour-free Chocolate Brownie Batter Dip below comes pretty close in terms of taste.  Dig in with your favorite fresh fruits and see for yourself!




Get Recipe>>

Published 11/20/2023