I know, I know, it's so good. But a study of a 2009 E. coli outbreak, led by CDC researchers and state health officials, has traced the contamination back to prepackaged raw cookie dough. Turns out ready-to-bake is not the same as ready-to-not-bake-and-get-right-to-the-eating. Ugh, god, what are we supposed to scarf when we get dumped then?
You'd think CDC researchers and cookie dough manufacturers alike would just be like "you knobs, there are uncooked eggs in there, just don't eat it until it's been baked." I mean, if someone ate raw prepackaged hamburger patties and got sick, nobody would be too surprised. But, on the theory that children and sad women in sitcoms are going to eat cookie dough right out of the package no matter what anybody says, the researchers suggest that "manufacturers of cookie dough should consider reformulating their product to make it as safe as a ready-to-eat product." And also there should be "more effective consumer education" about how there are uncooked eggs in there, just don't eat it until it's been baked.
Actually, it's not the eggs that are at fault, most likely. The study didn't show conclusively what ingredient or process caused 3.6 million packages of dough to be recalled, but researchers are tentatively pointing the finger at flour. Evidently it has the least stringent quality controls.
Flour does not ordinarily undergo a "kill step" to kill pathogens that may be present, unlike the other ingredients in the cookie dough like the pasteurized eggs, molasses, sugar, baking soda, and margarine. Chocolate was also not implicated in this outbreak since eating chocolate chip cookie dough was less strongly associated with these illnesses when compared with consuming other flavors of cookie dough, according to Dr. Neil.
Well, the solution is clear, then. If you're going to eat cookie dough, make it chocolate chip.
Get Grist in your inbox