Why Eating Raw Cookie Dough Is A Really Bad Idea

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Grocers say Pillsbury flour has been recalled because of Salmonella risk

| By Coral Beach, Food Safety News on March 10, 2019

| Two grocery chains are reporting that the parent company of the Pillsbury Co. has initiated a nationwide recall of flour packaged under the iconic brand because of possible Salmonella contamination.

However, neither Pillsbury nor its owner Hometown Food Co. had posted the recall on their websites, or with the Food and Drug Administration, as of last night.

The Publix and Winn-Dixie grocery chains both posted the recall information on their websites Friday. Neither chain reported how or when the possible contamination was discovered. They also did not report when they were notified about the problem.

The notice posted by Publix says more than 12,000 cases of the flour are subject to the recall, but does not say how many packages are in each case. The Winn-Dixie recall notice says there haven’t been any reports of any illnesses associated with the recalled flour.

Both grocery chains are reporting 5-pound bags of “Pillsbury Unbleached All Purpose Flour” are affected by the recall. Publix reports the flour was shipped to retailers and distributors nationwide.

“Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase for a refund,” according to the Publix recall notice.

The Winn-Dixie recall notice includes a similar warning. Winn-Dixie says consumers with questions about the recalled flour can contact the Southeastern Grocers Customer Call Center 866-946-6349.

Consumers can use the following information to determine whether they have the flour in their homes:

  • Publix — GTIN # 0 5150022241 3, Lot Code numbers 8 293 or 8 292, and Best If Used By Dates of APR 19 2020 or APR 20 2020
  • Winn-Dixie — UPC number 0 5150022241 6, Best If Used By Date of APR 19 2020, and Lot code numbers 8292 or 8293.

The Pillsbury website has standing advice for consumers about the dangers of raw flour.

“Flour is made with wheat that is grown outdoors where bacteria may be present,” according to the Pillsbury website. [NOTE: Salmonella is a fecal bacteria that would not normally be expected to be present on wheat. It must be introduced by an animal – most likely, human food processing workers. – Editor]

“Uncooked dough or batter made with raw flour should not be consumed. Flour should not be considered a ready-to-eat product. It is an ingredient for baked, fried, and cooked products, and these heating processes ensure the safety of the flour with proper handling.”

Pillsbury’s parent company Hometown Food Co., which is based in Chicago, was formed by the private equity firm Brynwood Partners in June 2018 to acquire a portfolio of brands from The J.M. Smucker Co., according to the Byrnwood website.

That portfolio includes the exclusive U.S. rights to the iconic Pillsbury brand’s shelf-stable baking products including Funfetti, along with the Hungry Jack, White Lily, Jim Dandy and Martha White brands.

Advice for consumers

FDA offers these tips for the safe handling of flour:

  • Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
  • Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
  • Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

Republished with permission of Food Safety News. To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.

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