Why Are Raw Egg White Cocktails Safe But Raw Cookie Dough Isn't?

Exploring the safety of consuming raw flour, salmonella in raw cookie dough, and the use of raw egg white cocktails.

Why Are Raw Egg White Cocktails Safe But Raw Cookie Dough Isn't?
Photo by Alexandra Gorn / Unsplash

For decades, bartenders have been incorporating raw egg whites into cocktails to generate a frothy texture and distinct mouthfeel. The use of raw egg whites isn't confined to a specific type of cocktail; it's an essential component in classics like the Whiskey Sour and Pisco Sour, as well as modern concoctions. The perceived safety of consuming raw egg whites in cocktails is partly attributed to the high alcohol content, acting as a sanitizing agent and reducing the risk of foodborne illness.

Cookie dough has long been associated with warnings about the potential dangers of consuming raw eggs due to the fear of Salmonella, a bacteria that can be present in raw eggs. However, this concern often overlooks the potential risk of raw flour, a significant ingredient in cookie dough.

Understanding the Risks: Raw Flour

Raw flour is an overlooked source of foodborne illness. During production, flour may come into contact with pathogens such as E. coli, posing a risk when consumed raw. The combination of risks from raw eggs and flour has led to prevalent advice against consuming raw cookie dough.

Regulatory Considerations

Warnings about raw cookie dough consumption have been issued by regulatory bodies such as the CDC and the FDA. When it comes to cocktails with raw egg whites, the perceived safety is largely due to the nature of the alcohol used and the preparation methods.

The Bottom Line

The difference in safety between consuming raw egg whites in cocktails and raw cookie dough lies in the specific context and associated risks. While cocktails with raw egg whites have factors that mitigate the risk, including the alcohol content and preparation methods, the dangers of Salmonella and contaminated flour make raw cookie dough a riskier choice. Understanding these factors can help individuals make informed decisions when indulging in these culinary delights.