The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating an outbreak of salmonella that's been linked to uncooked batter or dough. They urge people to avoid eating or playing with it.
In 11 states, 12 illnesses, including 3 hospitalizations, have been reported. The CDC has stated that the extent of the outbreak may be much greater than what the reported cases suggest.
The Agency has not identified any specific brands of flour that may be involved in this outbreak.
The CDC interviewed most of the patients who said that they had eaten batter or raw dough in the week prior to falling ill. This period spanned between December and mid-February. The raw batter or dough that patients ate was primarily flour.
According to the CDC, most flour is still raw and hasn't undergone any treatment to kill bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The bacteria that causes salmonella die when the flour is baked or cooked, but raw flour can make people sick. The risk is also present in raw dough that's used to make crafts or play clay.
The CDC advises that you follow the instructions on the package or recipe to cook all foods, including cookies and cakes, made from raw flour. You should also wash your hands with warm soapy water after touching raw flour. Heat-treated flour should be used for playdough.
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps within hours or even days after consuming bacteria. The majority of people recover after treatment, but should consult a doctor if their symptoms are severe or don't improve within a few days.