“The flour, not the raw eggs or chocolate chips, was likely the source of a 2009 outbreak of E. coli infection from Nestlé’s Toll House cookie dough, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports Friday.
Because of that surprise culprit, the CDC is calling for fail-safe formulas for packaged raw cookie dough.
In the meantime, lead investigator Dr. Karen Neil told the Star on Thursday, “Don’t eat raw cookie dough, period.”
Seventy-seven people in 30 states fell ill from exposure to the deadly E. coli bacteria. Thirty-five of them were sent to hospital; 10 suffered serious kidney injury. None died.
Hundreds of investigators spent a year performing a CSI-like recreation of the outbreak. They delivered their verdict and warning Friday in a study published by Oxford University Press.
“It’s particularly important during the holidays,” Neil said.
“Cookie dough is not a ready-to-eat product. But we know that people might eat the product anyway even though they’re told not to. This is an extra layer of safety.”
In fact, investigators found several of the victims bought the dough just to eat it raw, despite warning labels on the packages.
Teenage girls made up a big chunk of the cookie-dough eaters. The victims ranged in age from under 5 to late-60s. Half of them were under 19 and 71 per cent of them female.
“Our refrigerated cookie dough packaging clearly advises ‘Do not consume without baking’,” Nestlé spokeswoman Roz O’Hearn told theStar on Friday.
“As we approach the holiday season and the time of year when many are in the kitchen baking together, please take a moment to remind your family and friends that these warnings exist for good reason. No one should eat raw cookie dough, whether pre-packaged or made from scratch.”…”