Chances are you’ve heard the warning not to eat raw cookie dough or anything else with raw egg for fear of salmonella. It turns out there’s another reason not to try your dough before it’s baked — E. coli. These bacteria can live in bags of flour and give you food poisoning if you ingest the raw flour. To avoid this, don’t taste dishes with uncooked flour and wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling flour. Cook all dough thoroughly before eating. And don’t let your kids play with raw dough at home or in restaurants, as they can be a hidden source of an unpleasant infection.
If you’re a fan of packaged cookie dough ice cream or refrigerated cookie dough though, worry not. The flour in these products has been heat treated before use to kill off the E. coli, so as long as they don’t contain raw eggs they should be safe.