Is Raw Flour Safe To Eat: Understanding the Risks
Is raw flour safe to eat? This seems like a somewhat outlandish question, right? Of course, raw flour is safe to eat… except that it really isn’t. One quick Google search of terms like “is raw flour safe to eat” or “is it OK to eat raw flour” and you’ll find pages of news articles and reports from the CDC with cautions about consuming raw flour. Those have to be all fear tactics right? It seems like everything is “unsafe” nowadays anyway. Well, a quick look at where wheat comes from and it can be easy to see there certainly are risks involved with eating raw flour.
The largest contributor to contamination is actually right in the fields the wheat is grown, and the most common contaminant is E.coli. There are other contaminators like Salmonella and Listeria, but they all come from similar sources: nature.
Think back to that road trip as a kid where you drove through endless miles of agricultural land. There were fields of different crops, livestock, and a seemingly never-ending grid of small roads. In this way, wheat is often contaminated by water sources that are contaminated from nearby livestock, and mice, birds, and other animals that call the fields home. Once exposed to bacteria like E.coli, the wheat can carry that bacteria from harvest to processing and right into being packaged and on the shelf in the store. As long as that contaminated flour is handled properly the risks may be low, but flour is not an easy ingredient to safely handle.
Because flour is such a fine powder it seems to get everywhere. It gets sprinkled all over a counter to help roll out the dough. It covers hands and faces in a light powder coating. And, of course, there is always the temptation to give a taste to the raw dough or batter being created. The truth is, E.coli can cause sickness without actually being eaten. That flour all over your hands an easily get into your eyes or nose, and if it makes it past the body’s lines of defense (skin, mucous, etc.) then there is a real chance of becoming ill.
“Because of concerns about raw eggs, precautions have long existed for licking batter-laced spoons and nibbling homemade cookie dough. But the new results expand the array of raw goods to be concerned about — even homemade play dough — and the reasons to be vigilant. More than one-quarter of the 56 patients in the 24-state outbreak in summer 2016 were hospitalized. One patient went into kidney failure. All the patients, whose ages ranged from 1 to 95, recovered.” (1)
As parents of children that are learning to experience and embrace the world, we often find ourselves in the kitchen cooking, baking, or creating crafts with our kids. We wanted a more sure way to safely make homemade play-dough or allow our kids to roll our fresh home-made pizza dough, or enjoy a little raw cookie dough (without eggs, of course). This desire led us to create Page House Heat-Treated Flour.
We use a heat-treatment process to eliminate harmful bacteria, much like pasteurizing milk or eggs. This allows our flour to be handled raw without worry about contamination. We believe that providing the safest products to our families and yours is our mission. Anytime you purchase our heat-treated flour you can review the testing our flour receives before it can be sold, ensuring through laboratory testing that it is free from harmful bacteria.
Our flour answers the question, “is raw flour safe to eat,” with a positive, yes.
1. Hoffman, J. (2017, November 24). A new reason not to eat cookie dough: Uncooked flour can make you sick. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/a-new-reason-not-to-eat-cookie-dough-uncooked-flour-can-make-you-sick/