January 11, 2021

Learn How to Handle Flour Safely in Holiday Baking to Avoid Illness

It’s time to make Christmas and Hanukah desserts, including cookies, cakes, and pies. Everyone should learn how to handle flour safely during the holiday baking time with tips from the FDA.

Learn How to Handle Flour Safely in Holiday Baking Time

Flour is a raw food. Most people don’t realize that because it is processed, but it’s a raw agricultural product. Wheat is grown outdoors, and can be exposed to many different types of pathogens, including E. coli and Salmonella. Unfortunately, processing raw grains into flour doesn’t kill these pathogens.

Eggs, too, are another health risk. Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella; in fact, there have been quite a few food poisoning outbreaks over the years linked to eating raw or undercooked eggs. As with flour, cooking to a safe final temperature is the only way to destroy pathogens on these ingredients.

Never eat or taste raw flour, dough, or batter. And don’t make homemade play dough for your kids with raw flour. Since 2009 there have been several outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to raw flour or products containing raw flour, such as cake mixes and cookie doughs.

So to protect yourself and your family, always follow package directions on baking mixes for the correct cooking temp and baking times. Keep all raw foods, such as flour and eggs, away from ready-to-eat foods. Refrigerate pastry and cookie doughs according to directions. And always clean up carefully after you use flour and raw eggs in your kitchen. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Clean kitchen counters, drawer handles, cupboard handles, and floors. And wash utensils, bowls, baking pans, and cutting boards with warm, soapy water.

Watch out for recalls too. There were three recalls of flour for possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination in November. One was for King Arthur Flour, and the other for Wild Harvest Organic Flour, and the third for Hodgson Mill Flour. Make sure you don’t have these recalled flours in your home. If you do, or if you have decanted flour into another container and aren’t sure which brand it is, throw it away.

More tips: Don’t use products that contain raw flour such as cake mix to make milkshakes. And don’t use raw cookie dough in ice cream or make recipes with raw flour such as truffles.

Now that you’ve learned how to handle flour safely you can enjoy the holiday season with family and friends.

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