I don't know about you but when I was growing up, friends of mine loved to bake chocolate chip cookies. Only most of the dough never really made its way to the oven. That's right, we gobbled up gloppy spoonfuls of the raw dough.
Seems our baking ritual was highly risky. But after investigating a huge U.S. outbreak of Escherichia coli (that's E. coli to you and me), researchers found the unlikely culprit: ready-to-bake commercial prepackaged cookie dough.
Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending stronger wording to warn consumers not to eat pre-packaged cookie dough before it's baked. That goes for the homemade stuff, too.
The report's authors came to this conclusion after 77 patients with illnesses were identified in 30 states, and 35 people were hospitalized during the 2009 E. coli outbreak, which in turn led to 3.6 million packages of cookie dough being recalled from various manufacturers.
The surprising part: the suspected contaminate is not eggs but flour, as it doesn't usually undergo a "kill step" to kill potential pathogens like other ingredients do. Manufacturers should consider using heat-treated or pasteurized flour, making the dough safer in case it is consumed raw.
Apparently my friends and I weren't alone. Researchers found adolescent girls often bought the cookie dough "with no intention of actually baking cookies."
Best bet? Cookie dough-flavoured ice cream...