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NewsBites March 2012 Issue

Eating Raw Cookie Dough Risks E. Coli

Resist the urge to sample that raw cookie dough. A report that looked at 35 cases of E. coli food poisoning in 2009 concludes that all but two of the victims had consumed uncooked chocolate-chip cookie dough. Many, in fact, bought the refrigerated dough with the intent to gobble it raw: “They had no plans to actually bake cookies.” Salmonella in raw eggs is usually the worry when it comes to cookie dough, but scientists fingered flour in this case. Eggs used in the product had been pasteurized, which kills pathogens, and other ingredients had also been treated; only the flour had not been safeguarded against E. coli. In homemade cookie dough, the report noted, raw eggs are another reason to be wary of consuming uncooked cookies. Scientists urged manufacturers to pasteurize the flour used in refrigerated dough, and reminded consumers not to eat cookie dough—or any other product intended to be cooked first—before it’s been in the oven.

TO LEARN MORE: Clinical Infectious Diseases, online first; abstract at dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cir831.

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