We report this sad foodie news with a heavy heart and growling tummy especially given it's the holiday season and there is nothing but raw shortbread batter, cookie dough and mince pie pastry on every kitchen surface. But, it's probably not worth licking the spoon or the bowl if the outcome is severe food poisoning and a trip to the hospital ER.

The study was published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine and according to The New York Times, it found, "...tasting uncooked foods made with flour can make you dangerously ill."

The study "confirms that a type of E. coli bacteria" which causes severe food poisoning if consumed, "...previously discovered lurking in wet environments like hamburger meat and leafy vegetables can also thrive in arid hosts," like flour.

Why the study came about in the first place was after a rash of people were hospitalized with the same type of food poisoning in the US in 2016 and an investigative report into the outbreak was traced to flour, with "10 million pounds of flour" recalled as a result.

Previously raw eggs have been blamed for anyone getting sick from eating uncooked dough and pastry but now we've also got to stay away from any raw flour.

Associate professor of medicine at Brown University Medical School, Dr Marguerite A. Neill speaking to The New York Times advises to refrain, "...from tasting uncooked flour dishes," and wash your hands in, "...hot, soapy water after handling flour, such as after dusting a rolling pin."

But breathe easy baked good fans, you can still get heavily involved with the Yuletide cookies, you just need to wait until they're baked. Neill says, "...sustained cooking heat will kill pathogens."

Interestingly the researchers found that commercially made cookie dough ice cream is safe with the ingredients "pasturized and heat-treated" beforehand, killing any potential bacteria.

The surprising reason you should NEVER eat raw cookie dough