The holidays are cherished for time with family, fun festivities, and delectable dishes. Due to the rise in popularity of baking and cooking during the winter season, it can be easy to improperly prepare food, causing a big ‘bah humbug’ for those intended to enjoy a bite.
Many don’t realize that flour is a raw ingredient and one of the leading culprits for unsafe foods when not fully baked. Because flour is made from wheat and wheat is grown in fields, it is exposed to Salmonella and E. coli., bacteria commonly found in raw and undercooked foods. To avoid any baking faux paus this season, follow these flour safety tips to ensure proper food care that will protect yourself and loved ones:
Follow recipe and package instructions. It is essential to cook and bake foods to their proper time and temperature to ensure the elimination of any lingering bacteria.
Keep flour away from prepared foods. Remember, flour is a powder and can easily get onto other surfaces and lead to cross-contamination.
Clean all utensils and surfaces. Use warm water and soap on all items that come into contact with flour to properly sanitize, including utensils, plates, bowls, countertops, cutting boards, baking sheets, your hands, and more.
Refrigerate products containing raw flour. Recipes containing flour not intended to be used right away, such as dough, should always be refrigerated until ready to be baked or cooked, as bacteria multiplies rapidly if left at room temperature.
Consume raw flour. Bacteria is only killed off when flour is baked or cooked, so don’t take the chance of becoming sick from ingesting raw or undercooked dough, batter, or other recipes containing flour.
Use raw dough for play or crafts. While it can be a fun pastime activity, raw dough can still contain live bacteria which your little ones will most likely put in their mouths.
Use expired/recalled flour. Plain flour or any mixes containing flour should immediately be thrown away once they are past the expiration date or have had a recall to stop the chances of becoming sick if used.
Heat-treat flour at home. Attempting to heat-treat flour at home does not guarantee that all the bacteria will be killed off, therefore making the flour still unsafe to eat.
Sticking to these guidelines for flour will ensure a happy and healthy holiday!