Ah, cookie dough—the irresistible batter of the gods. The one uncooked foodstuff we'll wantonly risk crippling food poisoning for, as we dive face first into mixing bowls and lick spatulas like ice lollies. The artery-clogging snack to soothe any teenage heartbreak. We know you could kill us but we just can't resist.
And now, according to the UK Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, we may not have to.
A report released this week from the committee states that pregnant women should no longer be advised against eating raw or lightly cooked eggs.
Put together by a panel of clinical microbiologists and veterinary advisors, the report states that the risk of salmonella from eating raw eggs produced to UK Lion standards (a code of practice that requires chickens to be vaccinated against Salmonella enteritidis) should be considered "very low," making them safe to serve to vulnerable groups including the elderly and very young, as well as pregnant women.
If it's safe enough for those with compromised immune systems, it's safe enough for us. Cookie dough all round!
While the report states that best before dates should be adhered to and warns against serving raw eggs to "severely immunocompromised individuals," the long-held belief that those with a bun in the oven should steer clear of runny yolks seems to have been shattered.
It states: "It was the strong view of the working group that there has been a major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs since the 2001 ACMSF report [...] In practical terms, the group considered that the 'very low' risk level means that UK eggs produced under the Lion code can be served raw or lightly cooked to all groups in society."
The committee recommends that the Food Standard Agency (FSA) now amends its advice on eating eggs. Currently, the FSA says that eating raw or lightly cooked eggs "may cause food poisoning" and tells vulnerable groups not to take the risk.
In response to the committee's findings, it will now launch an eight-week consultation. A statement from the FSA said: "The consultation is inviting views on the recommended changes to the FSA's advice from a range of stakeholders, including food and hospitality industries, consumer and enforcement bodies, and health care practitioners."
FSA, if you're reading this, here's the view from a raw cookie dough expert: Try mixing milk and white chocolate chips into your batter, you'll get double the sugar rush.