You might want to think twice before sneaking a piece of cookie dough while making cookies for Santa this year.
The CDC warns against eating raw cookie dough, saying some of the ingredients can make you sick.
The go-to source for things like this, people usually listen to what the CDC has to say.
When it told people to throw away contaminated lettuce, they listened.
But when the CDC tells people to stop eating raw cookie dough, it doesn't go over well.
"People enjoy cookie dough. It tastes good so people say, 'well I'll just take that risk on myself,'" said Nathan Miller, a food safety specialist with UT's Ag Extension.
Raw eggs carry the risk of salmonella, but Miller echoes the CDC in saying it's the flour that could make you really sick.
"When it comes off the wheat, it's ground up and whatever's there is there," said Miller. "We don't usually do any further processing."
Most flour isn't pasteurized, so any bacteria on the wheat - like E. Coli - can sneak into your dough.
That doesn't mean you should stop buying flour, just don't eat it by the spoonful.
"We do have a good, safe food supply but it doesn't always mean it's a guarantee either," said Miller. "There are things that can slip through."
But why is cookie dough under fire? What about the other raw foods we eat, like sushi?
Miller says sushi is usually kept cold, handled by professionals in a restaurant setting, and isn't usually exposed to the elements long enough for bacteria to grow.
Cookie dough, however, is made in your kitchen or in large manufacturing facilities. And when you use it, it usually sits out for a while and has more time for bacteria to multiply.
So how do you get your cookie dough fix without getting sick?
Buy some edible dough at the grocery store or locally at Knox Dough near Lovell Road in Knoxville.
"Our cookie dough is egg-free and we use a heat-treated flour that makes it considered edible, raw cookie dough," said Janet Curtis, owner of Knox Dough.
Cookie dough with these modified ingredients isn't great for baking, but it's perfect for eating with no consequences.
"Adults tend to kind of think, 'I've eaten it, I'm still alive.' That's their answer," said Curtis. "But that doesn't mean that something can't happen, or you're gonna have stomach aches."
Avoid the raw eggs and flour, know where your dough is coming from, and your cookies for Santa will be tasty in every step of the process.