Cookie Dough: The Newest Scary Food


Who among us has not turned to prepackaged cookie dough for comfort during some dark or cozy moment in our lives? It's so creamy and convenient and soothing to the soul. Sure, we know it isn't exactly good for us, but it's always seemed relatively harmless. Well, it turns out our old food friend can actually be a pretty dangerous enemy. A study has confirmed that raw Nestlé Toll House cookie dough was responsible for making 77 people sick during an E. coli outbreak in 2009.

This is particularly bad news for teenage girls, who, it turns out eat A LOT of cookie dough. During the outbreak in 2009, 66 percent of the people who got sick were teenagers, and most of them were girls. College kids are also big consumers of dough (and not just because they blow all their parents money on tuition and beer...rim shot!):

An earlier study of college students found that more than half said they ate unbaked cookie dough. A fair number of those people have no intention of ever turning on the oven; they're eating it all right out of the package.

Yeah, duh. Why wait for actual cookies to be baked when you can grab a package of dough and eat it instantly?

Anyway, the weirdest part of all this is which ingredient is responsible for the E. coli danger. It isn't the raw eggs (which, btw, make even homemade cookie dough risky because of Salmonella) that were responsible for the sickness—it seems to have been the flour. The flour? Great:

Flour seems as bland and benign as could be, but it's still a raw agricultural product. That means it has had ample opportunity to be exposed to dirt, animal feces, and other unpleasant substances between field and grocery store shelf.

Oh, God, is nothing in this world safe from being covered in shit? Anyway, there's an easy way to avoid this: never eat anything again. Just kidding, all you have to do is bake the cookie dough, because that will kill the bacteria. Sure it takes some of the fun out of your average slumber party or pity party alone on the couch, but actual cookies are still pretty good—and it sure beats having horrible gastrointestinal distress for days on end!

The Surprising Ingredient In Raw Cookie Dough That Could Make You Sick [NPR]

Image via Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.