Daily Archives: December 1, 2017

The FDA’s Warning on Consuming Raw Flour-What every parent needs to know

As parents, we always make sure our children know to never eat raw eggs and wash their hands after coming in contact with them due to risk of Salmonella.  However, according to a recent statement issued by the FDA, flour, regardless of the brand or type (ex: unbleached, all-purpose, self-rising), can also contain bacteria that cause disease.  Raw dough could transmit harmful or evenly deadly pathogens which can make adults and children sick, while cooking the dough through methods such as roasting or baking-kills the bacteria.  Aside from cooking, doing crafts that include raw flour such as making play-doh can be just as dangerous if the dough is consumed.  See the link below for the complete FDA statement which includes tips on handling food safely but in the meantime, please see my tips on ways to help keep your children safe in some situations where they may be exposed to raw flour.

How to keep your kids safe

With the holiday season in full swing, Christmas cookies are one baked item that I make often and even give as gifts to family and friends. And whenever I make cookies, I always get my kids involved to help with the preparation and decorating and with this new FDA warning on raw dough, it’s important for parents to know how to keep their kids safe when making homemade cookies. Although cooking with kids is very important, it’s even more important to make sure they are safe and not consuming any potentially harmful ingredients. Here are a few tips that I use to keep my kids safe while baking cookies or even making crafts that require flour.

  • Hand washing! I can’t stress this enough. Washing hands after coming in contact with raw dough or raw flour is very important. To ensure my kids wash their hands immediately after handling either of these raw components, I have them wash their hands right at the kitchen sink while standing on their stools. This way, I can make sure it gets done right in front of me instead of relying on them to head to the bathroom to do it (which is where they usually prefer to wash their hands on their own). I then wash any utensils or work surfaces that have come in contact with the raw dough and flour.
  • Keep your kids informed. Often times, kids understand more than we realize so be sure to take the time to explain this raw flour/dough warning and what can potentially happen if they eat raw dough. Also, explain the rules of the kitchen and baking with mommy or daddy, and include “no eating raw flour or dough” and “hand washing after preparation”, etc. as part of those rules.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods. Due to it’s powdery consistency, raw flour can spread easily. Be sure to keep any other food products far from the flour and your work surface when preparing cookies or other baked goods that require flour. Kids often like to spread the powder as well, so removing all other foods items from this area will prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading.
  • Keep dish or paper towels close by.  Having some type of dish cloth or torn sheets of paper towel to wipe up excess flour (which parents know can get out of hand while baking with kids) will help to keep it from going on their little hands.
  • Be cautious when making homemade crafts that require flour. Homemade play-doh is a ton of fun to make with kids and makes the perfect rainy day activity but since it requires raw flour, it’s important that you have it in your sight at all times and be sure to have children wash their hands immediately after making it. I would also suggest discarding it afterwards or keeping any homemade play-doh in a safe area, far from where the kids could reach it. You may also want to save a craft like this for older children who do not mouth objects and have a better understanding of why raw flour cannot be consumed.