Raw Food Warning: Why Uncooked Flour Can Make You Sick – Live Science

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Raw Food Warning: Why Uncooked Flour Can Make You Sick
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The Food and Drug Administration recently made a perhaps surprising recommendation: Don’t eat raw flour.

The warning issued last week came in response to an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened at least 42 people in 21 states since December. The FDA tracked the outbreak to a batch of General Mills flour sold under the brand names Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra and Signature Kitchens, triggering a recall.

Most people who read the recommendation probably already knew they weren’t supposed to eat cookie dough because of the raw eggs in it (though people donꞌt always do what theyꞌre supposed to do). But the flour recommendation was flummoxing, particularly because of the FDA’s explanation: Flour is a field food, the agency said in a June 28 consumer update. If pathogens get into the wheat plants while they are growing in a field — via wild animal waste, for example — they’ll stay in through the milling process.

That advice makes sense. Except that people eat lots of field foods raw. If raw flour is dangerous, what about a spinach salad or a bowl of fresh strawberries? Why hasn’t the FDA declared all raw foods a no-go? [Top 7 Germs in Food That Make You Sick]

Live Science spoke with an FDA expert and an outside food safety researcher who had the answers. Bottom line: Yes, salad can cause illness, and produce has been linked to many more outbreaks than flour. But the risk of illness from raw produce is better understood than the largely unquantified risk from grains. And fruits and vegetables are processed under the assumption that people will eat them raw, whereas flour isn’t.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly half of foodborne illnesses are caused by produce. So why raise the red flag over flour?

“We just want to provide consumers with the best information to take steps to reduce their risk,” said Jenny Scott, a senior adviser in the office of food safety at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “The same thing happens when we have a produce outbreak.”

But the ways that people traditionally use flour did influence both the timing and the content of the recommendation. Typically, Scott told Live Science, people don’t eat raw flour in large quantities.

“Because people donꞌt think of raw flour as being a concern, that’s one of the reasons we’re making the effort to get the information out,” she said. The risk of illness from raw flour is low, she said, but then, so is the risk from raw produce.

The current flour-related outbreak is the second of two such outbreaks in the past seven years. The earlier one was a 2009 outbreak of another strain of E. coli caused by Nestlé Toll House prepackaged cookie dough, which — surprise, surprise — people were eating raw. Exhibiting a clear-eyed realism about human nature, Nestlé opted to start heat-treating all of the flour in its raw cookie dough.

Some recent changes in consumer behavior may explain the appearance of this newest flour-related outbreak, Scott said. Some pizzerias, for example, have started giving kids balls of raw dough to play with while they wait for their meals. But also, improvements in epidemiology now allow researchers to detect and track outbreaks that might have gone unnoticed in earlier years, she said.

“It happens once, you think, ‘Well, that’s a fluke, not really an issue,'” Scott said. “It happens twice, you start thinking, ‘Hmm, maybe there is something here.'”

Food safety experts are now aware of the flour risk, but are only beginning to understand it. Outbreaks related to produce have been studied intensively for two decades, starting with a massive outbreak of infection with the parasite Cyclospora in 1996 (it eventually was traced to raspberries imported from Guatemala). By comparison, there isn’t much data on the prevalence of pathogens in flour, said Ben Chapman, a professor of food safety at North Carolina State University. 

“Over 20 years, we have a pretty good understanding, or a better understanding, of fresh produce consumption, but when it comes to flour, we don’t know,” Chapman told Live Science. “It’s hard to make risk-management decisions based on unknowns.”

No one really knows how General Mills’ flour became contaminated, or if contamination is a widespread problem among other brands. E. coli can spread through animal feces, so wildlife pooping in and around fields might be the culprit. But untreated irrigation water could spread the bacteria, too, Chapman said, or there could be some sort of cross-contamination during the milling process. No one knows how long E. coli or other pathogens persist in dry foods like flour, he said.

“It’s still relatively new for us to be looking at this as a community,” he said.

As for produce, which is currently responsible for far more outbreaks than raw flour, the FDA is making strides on safety. The agency recently released a new Produce Safety rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that requires specific water quality guidelines and testing for irrigation water, rules for manure and compost use, and standards related to worker hygiene and equipment and tools. Raw sprouts, the culprit in 42 outbreaks between 1996 and 2014, get special attention under the new rule. [Top 10 Science Buzzkills: Studies that Ruin Your Fun]

Grains aren’t covered under the new Produce Safety rule, but both producers and regulators will likely be looking at ways to reduce the risk of contamination, Chapman and Scott said. Widespread heat-treatment of flour seems unlikely at this point due to the lack of infrastructure and technology to treat the grain supply, according to Scott.

But with huge grain-consuming companies like Nestlé and General Mills linked to outbreaks, producers will be examining their supply chains and processing practices, Chapman said.

“It’s bad business, being linked to outbreaks,” he said.

Original article on Live Science.

Dr. McDougall Says Raw Food Diet Is Unnatural. We Respond.

Dr. McDougall made several videos about the raw food diet, where he claimed that this way of eating is not the human diet, sustainable and not satiating.

Having followed a raw food diet for 14 years in between us, we discuss why these statements are not fully accurate.

Stay Slim And Vibrant Permanently Eating Delicious Foods! FREE 5-Day Raw Food Menu Plan:

* Get both raw and high raw meal plan, shopping lists, meal planning lesson and more in Rocking It With Raw Or High Raw Foods:

* Personal coaching:

* Thrive On Raw Recipes – 40 Delicious And Low-Fat Raw Vegan Meals To Help You Achieve Your Ideal Weight And Glowing Health:

* Overcoming Nutrient Concerns With Bloodwork And Other Methods:

* Healthy Raw Nutrition For Children And Teenagers

Thanks for watching!

Wishing you abundant health,
Paul and Yulia Tarbath

How To Lose Weight Naturally and Permanently and Start Living Your Life!

The good news is that you do not need a diet program to tell you how to lose weight. We have really complicated life by allowing ourselves to be sucked into the general "diet" beliefs, such as counting calories to lose weight, low-fat foods to lose weight, sugar-free foods to lose weight – the list goes on. But all you really need to know to lose weight naturally and effortlessly is what foods to eat, what exercise to do, and how to change the way you think about food.

What food should you eat to lose weight ?

I once went on a 3 month natural raw food diet. The only cooked food I ate was a little feta cheese and chickpeas. I lost a lot of weight and felt really good! It was so liberating being on this raw food diet, because I stopped thinking about dieting and losing weight, and just ate whatever I wanted – as long as it was raw and natural. I can say quite comfortably, that you can eat the following in any amount whatsoever, as long as you stick to what's on this list – the rule of thumb is that it simply has to be any unprocessed, unrefined food, so I may have left off a few foods, but be your own judge.

Food combining (not eating specific foods together) also works well, because it ensures fast digestion, which influences weight loss.

But the most important aspect to losing weight naturally, is to eat what God intended the human body to consume – natural, whole foods free of additives and other toxins. In other words, the best foods to eat are those which rot in a couple of days. This of course, does not include tinned veggies which can last for years! Please understand that if something has a long shelf-life, you have to ask yourself what's been added to it to make it last!

Here is a list of what's good for your body, and which will help you lose weight almost automatically:


Gem squash, peas, corn, onion, garlic, broccoli, baby marrows (zucchini), cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, peppers, carrots, butternut, pumpkin, pattie pans, baby gems, rhubarb, asparagus, mushrooms, artichokes, beetroot, celery, collard greens, spinach, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, green beans, kale, leeks, spring onions, lettuce, olives, tomatoes


Dill, fennel, rocket, parsley, mint, basil, rosemary, thyme

Nuts: (must be raw, never salted)

Almonds, cashews, macadamias, brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts

Seeds: (must be raw, never salted)

Flax seeds (preferably crushed or the body can not make use fully of all their goodness), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds


Figs, grapefruit, naartjies, apples, lemons, grapes, kiwis, limes, oranges, papayas, pears, pineapples, cherries, plums, prunes, raisins, mango, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, bananas, apricots, peaches, cranberries


Cold pressed olive oil, cold pressed sunflower oil, cold pressed flax seed oil, hemp seed oil

Herbal teas:

All herbal teas – check that nothing processed has been added (like flavourants)


Honey, stevia, agave syrup, xylitol


All sprouts


Sweet potatoes, brown rice, unrefined oats, potatoes

Beans and legumes:

Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans

Use sparingly, if at all:

Meat, chicken, fish, dressings, sauces, butter, cow's milk, cheese

Do not use:

All processed foods (sweets, savoury snacks, chips, cereal bars, white bread, white flour, fatty meats, processed meats, margarines, artificial sweeteners (aspartame)

What exercise should you be doing to lose weight?

Different exercises do different things for the body. Ideally, you need a combination of cardio (anything that makes your heart beat faster), as well as weights and stretching. You should be doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, and you should be exerting your body in these exercises, which means a bit of heavy breathing and perspiration!

Changing the way you think about food:

This is key for permanent weight loss. Food needs to be thought of as necessary for survival. It should not be used to fulfil an emptiness inside, or as entertainment when bored, or for comfort. As I mentioned, I went on a 3 month raw food diet, but I had not addressed the way I related to food, so when I ended the raw food diet, I put on all the weight I had lost, and more. Without addressing this vital aspect, you are not likely to lose weight permanently.

Once you have grasped the simplicity of eating for nutritional value, together with portion control, your life will be made far more simple and instead of counting calories for each meal, you can begin to start living your life and doing far more important things than measuring fat grams!

MIA's Plant Food + Wine is the Answer to Your Raw, Vegan Prayers – Haute Living

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Plant Food + Wine Dining Room

Down a dead-end alley on NE 24th Street, spitting distance from Biscayne Boulevard, is Miami’s Sacred Space, a passion project of Karla Event’s Karla Dascal. Part of that is a very unique raw, vegan restaurant: Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food + Wine. The airy, upscale dining establishment spills out onto the Sacred Space’s beautifully designed courtyard with outdoor seating and even boasts a raw-vegan cooking school in the back.


Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps
Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps

In the same way that JugoFresh totally changed the juice bar game by elevating the experience from aromatically-challenged and dubiously-designed health food stores, to marble-laden, high-design venues with—gasp—great branding.

Kimchi Dumplings
Kimchi Dumplings

But Plant Food + Wine offers more than smart branding. It offers a stylish refuge for Miami’s healthy set. The kind of place you have to know is there because no sign is going to tell you.

Betta Bucha Kombucha Drink
Betta Bucha Miami-made Kombucha Drink

For those not familiar with “raw cuisine” – first know that it is always plant-based—sorry, sushi doesn’t count. You’ll find no animal products on the menu anywhere, and everything should not have been heated above 106 degrees so as not to kill living, active enzymes in the food. In-tact enzymes mean the food is easy to digest and of its energy is given back to you—not spent on digestion.

Zucchini Lasagna
Zucchini Lasagna

The menu, which can be seen in it’s entirety here, includes fancier takes on raw food staples. Examples include the Artisanal Cheese Plates, with creamy “cheese” made out of macadamia nuts and the Zucchini Lasagna, which is rich and filling and includes a fresh take on the traditional Italian flavor profile.

Cacio E Pepe
Cacio E Pepe

 The Cacio E Pepe is made with kelp noodles, watercress and green olive puree and offer up a creamy experience that is satisfying, if not quite like the Cacio E Pepe you might be used to. Therein lies the trick with raw food, although they have assigned it names to evoke cooked dishes, they are generally very different and best taken as their own entity, rather than versions of something already known.

Strawberry Hibiscus Cheesecake
Strawberry Hibiscus Cheesecake

This axiom doesn’t hold true with dessert, where the raw versions are similar to, if not better than, their known counterparts. The Banana Split features ice-cream made with a nut base and goji berries, hemp, maca, chocolate and strawberries. Don’t even get us started on the Strawberry Hibiscus Cheesecake.

Cheese Plate
Cheese Plate

Next up, we’ll tell you more about the magical, wellness-centric place where Plant Food + Wine resides- The Sacred Space Miami.


Photos by Hadley Henriette and Adrian Mueller

The Raw Food Detox Diet Explained

The rise and rise of raw food in the mainstream market has led to an interest in its benefits for many daily ailments and problems that people have to cope with. There is much information, good and bad, out there that you can access through the internet or books. The starting point for many peoples' enquiries is a need to change a specific part of their life or solve a particular problem. Although raw food, and particularly a raw food detox, can have incredible results for certain people in certain situations it is not a panacea for all ills. The effects that some people feel are specific to their situation and circumstances. So what can one expect then when engaging in the raw food detox diet?

The switch from a standard cooked diet, which contains processed and junk food, to a balanced vegan raw food diet, which contains a high level of raw food by weight, is one of the most life giving changes a person can make to their daily lives . Most of us have heard of the expression 'you are what you eat' and perhaps have pondered its implications. The content of all processed foods and many cooked foods has large quantities of saturated fat, salt and de-natured proteins. This combination, when ingested, requires that the body must produce enough enzymes and digestive products to break down these components into useful resources for the body and waste to be eliminated. When one ingests raw food the food itself contains all, or very nearly all, of the enzymes required to break down the food into usable parts for the bodies well being.

The production of enzymes and digestive products is an extremely heavy drain on the body's resources. If the food that we eat is full of these enzymes to start with then the body is released from the need to produce these and released from diverting energy toward their production. Once released from this energy consuming task it has much more energy spare to devote to the other tasks a body needs to concentrate on such as fighting illness, regenerating diseased and dysfunctional organs and parts of the body. This is where the stories of improved wellness and remission from disease come from in the stories of those who have switched to a raw food diet.

Even more significant than this though is that once the body is released from this daily intake of hard to digest food it starts to release and eliminate toxins and waste that has been stored in the body for days, months and even years. This is the point at which people can start to see the results that others have reported. Quite often the skin clears up and shines, your hair can transform from greasy or fly-away to normal and easier to take care of. The colon cleans itself as does the liver and kidneys leading to loss of dark bags under the eyes, skin spots and aches around the lower back. Not everyone will experience all of these but most will experience some of them to some extent. Weight that was once carried as excess can often times fall away and without the extra weight the body is freed up to do even more internal healing.

The list of possible results is as long as the number of people that take up this life enhancing change, and it is only fair to warn that whilst detoxing the body there will be a period in which, as waste is eliminated, that you may experience feelings of unwellness and perhaps breakout in spots or similar. Those that follow a balanced high raw diet though can plan for this and know that it will pass and on the other side will be more energy, vibrancy and health.

The final point to make anyone aware of that is considering this option is that we all have psychology surrounding food and our relationship to it. The process of changing our diets will inevitably bring us up against our own psychology. This is not a bad thing but if not planned for and treated in a respectful way can often undermine the raw food detox program. There are raw food coaches who specialise in knowing how to deal with this part of the process and the successful integration of a high raw diet into your life is greatly improved by engaging one of these people into this plan.

Whatever path you choose it is very widely accepted that eating more salads and raw fruit and vegetables is good for you. Any changes that you can make in this direction will have a health benefit. By reducing processed food in your diet to near zero you have made an incredible change for the better. Good luck with your choices and always listen to your body as to what is really good for you and what are old habits trying to maintain the status quo.