Raw cookie dough can cause E. coli infections

Raw cookie doughE. coli infection can be initiated by leafy green vegetables, ground beef and unpasteurized dairy products. However, in a report published by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday, it has been found that raw cookie dough can also lead to E. coli infection.

This research has been done by Dr. Karen P. Neil from CDC and published online in December 8 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Disease.

Licking the spoon or dipping fingers into mixing bowl for checking the taste of raw cookie dough – the form of cookie which is ready to bake – is an added bonus to the baking process, especially at holiday time, but the risk of falling ill from the batter might be greater than once thought.

This conclusion has been reached after a study of a 2009 outbreak of E. coli infections that sprang from tubes of Nestlé’s Toll House raw cookie dough. In that outbreak, approximately 77 people from 30 states became ill. In that study, researchers have found that 33 out of 35 patients with food-borne illness consumed cookie dough as compared to 4 of 36 people with no illness.

On the other hand, slight salmonella infection can also occur from flour and flour-based mixes.


Karen P. Neil, Gwen Biggerstaff, J. Kathryn MacDonald, Eija Trees, Carlota Medus, Kimberlee A. Musser, Steven G. Stroika, Don Zink, and Mark J. Sotir, (2011). A Novel Vehicle for Transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to Humans: Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Associated With Consumption of Ready-to-Bake Commercial Prepackaged Cookie Dough—United States, 2009. Clinical Infectious Diseases, doi: 10.1093/cid/cir831

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