Have you noticed the “Do not eat raw flour, dough or batter” warnings on the bags of flour you buy? Apparently this warning has been around for a while, but I had never noticed it until a few days ago when we bought a new bag. We buy King Arthur artisan flour because it is the only flour I have been able to find that does not contain soy-derived enrichments. (This flour is a combination of 100% organic hard red wheat flour and 100% organic malted barley flour and we buy it in fifty-pound bags for an ever-increasing price… but that’s another story.) Anyway, I had never seen the raw flour notice before, but apparently it has been there for many months on the front of the bag. I always check the ingredient list on everything I buy, but I suppose this proves I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the rest of the bag!
It turns out this warning is for possible contamination with salmonella and E. coli. Apparently many months ago when several people became ill after eating a commercial raw cookie dough, the cookie dough manufacturer was able to rule out every possible contamination source except the raw flour.
So now we’re being warned that ALL raw flour may be contaminated.
When we had our own chickens and our own eggs, we always tasted raw cookie dough, cake batters, and such. (Did you know the mix-in-the-pan chocolate cake batter tastes like chocolate pudding?) When we stopped having our own eggs we stopped eating any batter or dough that contained raw eggs because of THAT contamination warning. We’ve continued eating the batters and doughs that didn’t have eggs. I don’t really know how I feel about this raw flour warning… or what I will do.
I am so tired of these warnings about the contaminants in the food we have to eat. I’ve read several articles lately discussing possibly having to irradiate flour and I always wonder if warnings like this are possibly a first step in that direction. I hope not.
And I feel really sorry for a whole generation of little kids who will never get to lick the beaters or scrape out the bowl. They will be missing far more than just getting a taste of the raw batter or dough.