I love to eat raw cookie dough, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s completely safe to eat. Hell, even if it wasn’t, I’d still be gnawing on the gooey goodness like there was no tomorrow. However, raw cookie dough is meant to be baked, so is it safe to eat raw cookie dough, or is there no harm in this delicious treat?
I know I’m not the only person who does this, and I’m likely not the only person who has a (mild) concern about the safety in eating raw cookie dough. Technically, if cookie dough were unsafe to eat, it would say so right on the packaging. The only real danger in eating raw cookie dough is the raw egg factor, which is generally only dangerous in raw cookie dough that you’ve prepared yourself at home. Store bought cookie dough has so many preservatives that eating it raw will likely do little to no damage other than an upset tummy from eating so many sweets (such as a whole roll meant to make 2 dozen cookies).
According to the USDA, eating raw cookie dough is not recommended, but not entirely unsafe. As a safety precaution, the USDA reminds us that raw cookie dough is meant to be purchased for the purpose of cooking (duh) but that the preservatives in store bought cookie dough meant to keep the dough fresh means that the cookie dough, raw or otherwise, is basically safe to eat up to the expiration date.
Homemade cookie dough, on the other hand, has no preservatives to keep the raw cookie dough (and the raw eggs within it) safe from bacteria like salmonella, so eating homemade raw cookie dough is not as safe. Fresh raw cookie dough while you’re preparing to bake is fine, but raw cookie dough left on the counter for more than 20 minutes that you’ve prepared yourself may make you sick.
So if you’re going to eat raw cookie dough, go with store bought, keep it refrigerated when it’s not in your greedy little hands, and don’t attempt to eat it beyond the expiration date. If you make your own cookie dough for personal raw consumption, either leave the eggs out entirely or eat it pretty darn fast.