I think it's safe to say that in the course of my life, I've consumed enough raw cookie dough to stock a bakery, for, like, a week. As a kid, though, when I'd bake cookies with my mother, she'd always swat my hand away from the batter and warn me that I'd become very ill if I ingested the raw eggs in it. Of course, the second she turned around to set the oven, I'd scoop my fingers into the bowl and sneak a mouthful of the raw, sticky, delicious cookie dough — and what do you know, to the best of my knowledge, I never got sick. Because of my luck, I grew up believing that the salmonella raw cookie scare was just a myth. However, this actually isn't true — and now that I'm older, I know it is actually very possible to get salmonella from raw cookie dough.
That said, as I learn to bake on my own as an adult, I noticed that without my mother's hand there to swat mine away, I'm not as interested in raw cookie dough. In fact, I'm concerned about it. The more I learn about food handling, the more I realize how probable it is that the great cookie dough scare is not a myth at all.
To settle it once and for all, I did the research that I had so happily avoided until now. And I hate to say it, but if you're not willing to let go of the hopeful fantasy that salmonella is a mythological creature that parents made to keep their kids from putting their hands in the batter, you might not want to read on.
While the FDA warns that there is a risk of contracting salmonella from raw eggs, Mic points out that it's actually another uncooked ingredient that's the biggest culprit of disease and illness: flour. Perhaps the most unsuspecting batter villain, raw flour can be host to E. coli bacteria. In 2016 alone, dozens of people became sick with a strain of E. coli bacteria called Shiga. If you contract either bacterial disease, you'll find yourself sick to your stomach, literally. And while they're not typically life-threatening, like any medical ailment, they can be. Ongoing cases have lead to a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome — though, this is not typical.
So there it is, the legend raw cookie dough is fact, not fiction. But before you get too upset, remember that there are always loopholes, like using pasteurized eggs, or nut flours instead of real flour. And, if you're really craving that classic chocolate chip cookie dough flavor, just head to the grocery store and get yourself some ice cream. The companies that produce cookie dough for their ice cream have already made it safe for you, so there's no reason to try to improvise at home and risk getting sick.
Stay away from raw eggs, stay away from raw flour, but long live chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream!