I enjoy eating raw cookie dough. As long as the dough doesn't have egg in it, is it safe to eat?
According the the current advice from the FDA, you should not eat raw dough, even if does not contain eggs. Apparently raw flour may contain E. coli.
People often understand the dangers of eating raw dough due to the presence of raw eggs and the associated risk with Salmonella. However, consumers should be aware that there are additional risks associated with the consumption of raw dough, such as particularly harmful strains of E. coli in a product like flour.
“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” says Leslie Smoot, Ph.D., a senior advisor in FDA’s Office of Food Safety and a specialist in the microbiological safety of processed foods. So if an animal heeds the call of nature in the field, bacteria from the animal waste could contaminate the grain, which is then harvested and milled into flour.
Common “kill steps” applied during food preparation and/or processing (so-called because they kill bacteria that cause infections) include boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving, and frying. But with raw dough, no kill step has been used.
If you're worried about getting sick, the only risky ingredient is raw eggs.
I personally detest raw cookie dough (it's a texture thing), but our family routinely uses powdered eggs in our cookie dough so that my spouse and kids can eat the raw dough without any worry (they seem to prefer the dough to the baked cookies). The cookies turn out exactly the same, we just end up losing about half the dough in the process to those crazy people who prefer eating the dough...