Licking that spoon can cause some serious issues, but if you need that cookie dough taste and texture, I've got you!

'Tis the season for cookies fresh out of a hot oven. That's the best way to consume a cookie, right? I love a hot cookie that is super tender and loaded with chocolate chips. We're supposed to eat cookies after they are baked, not before.

And yet people still eat that bacteria ball.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is once again warning us to not eat raw cookie dough. It's a no-brainer, right? Raw eggs = bad news for our bodies. However, it's the raw flour that can cause damage as well. In fact, flour that has not had the bacteria cooked out of it can lead to E. coli infections.

Yep, the same thing that Romaine lettuce is doing to us.

Complications can include kidney failure, breakdown of red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout your body), hospitalization and bloody diarrhea. There's also the issue of salmonella from the raw eggs. This comes with it's own set of friends like fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. These complications are more harmful for older adults, infants and those with weakened immune systems.

And let's face it, with the crowds, cold weather, and long hours prepping for Christmas, all of our immune systems are overloaded.

I do have an alternative though. It's cookie dough hummus. Now, before you gag, it's actually better than it sounds. Yes, it's made with chickpeas, but once you throw in the honey, peanut butter, vanilla and chocolate chips, it becomes a sweet treat that may actually be pretty healthy. Or you can get some No Bake Cookie Dough at Target which is supposed to be bacteria-risk free.

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