Raw Cookie Dough Poses E. Coli Danger

Raw cookie dough poses dangers because of the sometimes-deadly E. coli food borne illness. As a matter-of-fact, researchers tracing illnesses found that a significant number originated with E. coli and uncooked, pre-packaged cookie dough.

It seems that the raw, ready-to-bake cookie dough can be riddled with pathogens such as E. coli, said MSNBC, citing an emerging study by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The New York Daily News reported.

Researchers looking into national E. coli outbreaks found that of 77 illnesses in 30 states, a habit of consuming raw, pre-packaged cookie dough was to blame; of these 77, 35 people required hospitalization, said The Daily News. Additional research into the specific eating habits of those who fell ill revealed that of 36 of those sickened, cookie dough was confirmed to be to blame in every case.

“What our report shows is that you shouldn’t eat cookie dough raw, no matter where it comes from,” said the report’s lead author Dr. Karen Neil a medical epidemiologist, wrote The Daily News. “It’s supposed to be baked,” Dr Neil added.

The team discovered the E coli pathogen in samples they collected from the manufacturing plants, according to findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, said The Daily News. The findings led to a massive recall of 3.6 million packages of cookie dough “of an unidentified brand,” said The Daily News.

The team could not determine which specific ingredient, or what part of the manufacturing process, caused the contamination; however, they believe the issue could be in the flour, which is not subject to the same processes as eggs, molasses, sugar, baking soda, and margarine, and might have been tainted with pathogens, according to The Daily News.

According to Dr, Neil, cookie dough in ice cream is safe to consume. “The cookie dough in ice cream was meant to be consumed raw,” Neil noted, The Daily News wrote.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea; dehydration; and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to develop an infection from food borne pathogens.

E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces. Some strains are needed for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, toxin producing, and may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloody stool. Most seriously, kidney failure and death may occur.

Symptoms generally appear three-four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to manifest. The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.

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