Why Is Eggnog Safe To Drink But Eating Raw Cookie Dough Isn’t? Lots of people have seen it in the news across the last few years… ‘do not eat raw cookie dough’ or ‘the dangers of eating raw cookie dough’. There have been a number of cases where individuals have been violently ill after eating home made, raw cookie dough. Why is this? Is it the raw eggs in the mix?
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest issue is the raw flour in the mix. Eating raw flour brings with it dangers of E.Coli, which can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and in extreme cases, a serious type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.
However, raw eggs in the dough should also be a cause for concern. There are a couple of food and beverages that do indeed contain raw egg, and a topical example is eggnog. Does that mean you should stop drinking eggnog? We spoke to STS Food Safety Senior Consultant, Annabel Kyle, about the dangers and myths of eggs, flour and eggnog:
“Raw eggs can potentially carry harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, and cause food poisoning, so eating eggs in their raw, uncooked state can increase the risk of foodborne illness. Therefore raw eggs should be thoroughly cooked to destroy any harmful bacteria present within the egg. “However, within the last year, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has updated its guidance on the use of raw or lightly cooked eggs. These results were in light of research into the safety of eating lightly cooked/raw eggs branded with the Lion mark undertaken by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF). This research found that it was safe, even for vulnerable groups, to eat eggs bearing the Lion brand that were not thoroughly cooked. “So, as long as the eggs used in raw cake/cookie mixes or eggnog are Lion branded then they should be safe to eat uncooked from the point of view of eggs. “With regards to flour, in 2016 there was an outbreak of E coli O121 in the US which was found to be linked to the use of untreated flour and made 63 people ill. Many of those who became ill reported having tasted/eaten uncooked, homemade cookie dough/cake mixes. Commercially made cookie and cake mixes were deemed by the US Food and Drug Authority (FDA) to be safe as the manufacturers of these products used treated flour. “This is not something I have come across before and, to my knowledge, there are currently no concerns regarding the flour sold in the UK (nor have there been in the past) and there does not seem to be an official FSA viewpoint on this. “With regard to eggnog, it’s not really my thing and I’m not an expert on the drink! However, there is quite a lot of alcohol in eggnog which will have a ‘sterilising’ effect on the raw egg content and, as I understand it, eggnog traditionally used to be made using raw eggs which had been ‘preserved’ in alcohol for some time before use. It is also possible to heat up the egg base when making eggnog. It should also be noted that lots of shop bought eggnog includes egg whites which have been pasteurised, removing the potential threat of germs.”