Remember when you were little and mom used to prepare yummy cookies for you? Did you enjoy sneaking a finger licking bite of the raw dough? You are telling lies if you said no. “Keep your hands off it” is something, I remember, mom said, everything I put my finger in empty mixing bowl trying to lick it clean. We know that eating raw cookie dough was not safe, don’t we? But that is the thing we do it anyways, even though we know the amount of risk involved in it. If you are among those who like to sneak a bite of the smooth, sweet, sticky and deliciously yummy batter off the cute little moulds, beware.
Raw Cookie Dough: Danger
“Eating raw cookie dough? Stop it now”, warn the scientists. Raw cookie dough which is premade and prepackaged has put some red signals for its link to nasty food-borne pathogens like E. coli.
The latest issue of journal Clinical Infectious Disease published a study titled: ‘A Novel Vehicle for Transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to Humans.’ The study reported an outbreak of E. coli in 30 states causing 77 to become ill. Out of these nearly 35 became so serious that they had to be hospitalized. The lead author of the study, Dr. Karen Neil, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “What our report shows is that you shouldn’t eat cookie dough raw, no matter where it comes from. It’s supposed to be baked.”
A recent study urges food manufacturers to get realistic with their products’ end purpose and consider presenting cookie dough that is not just ready-to-bake, but ready-to-eat.
What is E. coli?
Escherichia coli are gram negative bacteria that usually survive in the small intestine of the human and animal body. These bacteria can survive in an environment with or without air. These do not usually cause disease in the intestine. Nevertheless, they can be harmful if they spread outside of the intestines, for example, into the urinary tract (where they cause bladder or kidney infections), or into the blood stream (sepsis).
If you are infected with E. coli, you can become very ill. There are a lot of symptoms that may not be same for any two individuals; but generally include stomach cramps and pain, unsettled stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe symptoms can include acute stomach pain and bloody diarrhea along with dehydration.
What should be done?
Consumers always need to be reminded to read the package labels for directions to use the product. The instruction to bake the cookie dough is available on the packages; however, it is suggested that more information about the risks of eating raw cookie dough be made available to the public.
So now you know what to do the next time you’re preparing to bake a batch of ready-made cookies? It's simple. Don't sneak a bit of the raw cookie dough. Stay safe and healthy and enjoy your cookies baked and with a glass of cold milk.