A few years back the FDA said that you shouldn't eat raw flour (for example in color dough). Is that also true in the EU which has (AFAIK) better food standards?

1 Answer 1


The FDA's guidance on raw flour comes after an E. coli outbreak was traced to raw flour.

Other outbreaks have been noticed since, in the US and Canada.

The UK has the same guidance to not eat raw flour.

I did not find evidence of a similar outbreak in Europe, but flour in Germany tested positive for Shiga-producing E. coli as well. Given that these outbreaks are fairly sporadic and that low-level contamination of raw flour with E. coli seems common, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that any food standards differences caused the outbreaks to occur in the US and Canada rather than Europe.

Crowe, S. J., Bottichio, L., Shade, L. N., Whitney, B. M., Corral, N., Melius, B., … Neil, K. P. (2017). Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Infections Associated with Flour. The New England journal of medicine, 377(21), 2036–2043. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1615910

Mäde, D., Geuthner, A. C., Imming, R., & Wicke, A. (2017). Detection and isolation of Shiga-Toxin producing Escherichia coli in flour in Germany between 2014 and 2017. Journal of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, 12(3), 245-253.

Morton, V., Cheng, J. M., Sharma, D., & Kearney, A. (2017). An outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 infections associated with flour-Canada, 2016-2017†. Canada communicable disease report = Releve des maladies transmissibles au Canada, 43(7-8), 154–155.

  • 1
    One thing I'd ask myself: why anyone would want to abuse grains by making flour and then consume them without any thermal processing, like baking? Jul 23, 2019 at 18:11
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    @LangLangC Mostly because they are too impatient to wait for their cookies to bake ;)
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 23, 2019 at 18:24
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    When I saw this question I thought for sure the issue was dough because of the milk, eggs, etc, not the flour itself. +1 for teaching me something.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 24, 2019 at 4:49
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    @CareyGregory I actually don't know a lot about the history but I wonder if that's why it took until recently for warnings about flour, if previous incidents were maybe falsely blamed on other ingredients especially eggs.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 24, 2019 at 4:51

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