Helping educate consumers about the safety of consuming food products made with wheat flour is the goal of a new initiative by two leading millers’ associations.
The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) and the Canadian National Millers Association (CNMA) recently released a new food safety educational video designed to eliminate the food safety risk associated with wheat flour by educating consumers on proper handling and baking instructions for products containing flour.
“Wheat is a healthy and wholesome grain, and an important part of the global food supply,” says NAMA president and chief executive officer James McCarthy. “From farm to kitchen, the entire wheat industry is committed to best practices for food safety, and this simple and easy to use video is designed to help consumers understand and apply proper handling and baking procedures so they can safely enjoy their favorite baked goods.”
NAMA, CNMA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advise that flour is made from wheat grown and harvested on the farm, and it is possible for wheat to be exposed to environmental sources of E. coli and other bacteria that may present a food safety risk.
Thus, raw flour is not ready to eat, and consumers should not eat or taste raw flour, dough or batter prior to cooking or baking as they can cause illness if harmful bacteria are present. However, proper cooking and baking eliminates the food safety risk associated with E. coli and other bacteria in raw wheat flour, dough and batter.
The video advises consumers:
- Flour is a raw ingredient that is made from wheat that comes from a farm and is minimally processed.
- Never eat raw flour, cookie dough or any other raw dough or batter.
- Wash baking utensils and preparation surfaces thoroughly with soap and hot water.
- Always wash your hands after handling raw flour.
- Properly follow baking instructions.
- Only eat foods containing flour after they are properly baked.
“An informed consumer is a safe consumer when it comes to food safety and at-home baking,” says Gordon Harrison, president of CNMA. “This video will make it easier for consumers to understand and implement a few simple food safety precautions that help protect them and their families.”
The US Department of Agriculture has launched the FoodKeeper app to help consumers reduce their food waste, and a recent update to the FoodKeeper software will help consumers be “food safe.”
USDA updated the app to allow users to select automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consumers can receive notifications immediately when recalls are announced, or daily and even weekly.