Is It Dangerous To Eat Uncooked Raw Pasta?

Everyone has done it. When mom or grandma were making cookies, many of us snuck a taste of cookie dough. And the kitchen offenders were all, correctly, admonished for doing so. Yet, many of us never understood why we weren't supposed to eat raw cookie dough, despite the elders chastising it as wrong. Well, today, with edible cookie dough becoming ever popular — see Ben & Jerry's — childhood naughtiness has been justified, in a way.

But the other raw doughs we occasionally find our hands covered in — like those loaves of bread everyone made during the pandemic (see The Atlantic) or an inherited fresh pasta recipe — have yet to receive the "edible" green light. But some of us have likely sampled raw pasta dough on occasion. A look into the science behind why consuming raw dough could spell disaster for your health will make any sane cook think twice before trying a piece of uncooked pasta. 

The bad bacteria in your raw dough

Food blogger Feruza said, "Eating raw pasta is potentially harmful. Our body has a hard time digesting raw pasta, so we can't get many nutrients from it. There is also some risk of food poisoning." According to the L.A. Times, if our ancestors were able to consume raw foods, it is logical to think that ability would pass down to us. Well, the food consumption in question, as far as our ancestors were concerned, was meat. While there are certain meats we can consume raw, the American Museum of Natural History conducted research that shows that as humans began to cook, our energy and digestive needs evolved as well.

Back to the raw dough — the CDC clearly explains why consuming raw dough of any kind can be harmful. Flour, a key ingredient when making pasta, is raw and untreated for common food-related bacteria, such as E.coli. Additionally, raw egg, another key ingredient in most pasta recipes, can contain Salmonella. Both bacteria listed are harbingers of food poisoning, which, if you've ever had it, is enough to make you never lick your dough-covered fingers again.