A recent survey conducted by leading flour supplier Ardent Mills discovered how consumers interact with raw flour, explored their understanding of safe handling and consuming and uncovered potential risky behaviors.

According to the survey of 1,001 US consumers, 18 years of age or older, fielded between August 19-23, 2022, consumers lack strong knowledge of the risks of eating raw flour. Forty-four percent believe flour overall is safe to eat before cooked, another 19 percent do not know if it is or not (significantly higher than for other food safety risks). Nearly one-half (45 percent) of consumers think it is safe to eat batter for baked goods made in their kitchen.

This lack of flour safety understanding leads to at-risk behaviors. More than one-half (53 percent) of consumers who use refrigerated/frozen cookie dough occasionally sample the product prior to baking it, while three-quarters (74 percent) of consumers at least sometimes taste the batter directly from the mixing bowl, spoon or beater.

Millennial and Gen Z consumers, especially young parents, tend to participate in at-risk behaviors at higher frequencies than Boomers or Gen X consumers. Eighty-two percent of consumers aged 17-34 lick the beaters or mixing spoon after mixing cakes, cupcakes, muffins and/or brownies. Boomers are 19 percent less likely than Millennials and Gen Z to engage in this behavior, and 50 percent less likely to taste/eat refrigerated cookie dough before baking.

The CDC provides resources for minimizing the opportunity for foodborne illnesses.