Restaurant News

Study Identifies Suspect Ingredient in 2009 Cookie Dough E. Coli Breakout, and It's Not Eggs

We're still not allowed to eat raw cookie dough, but not for the reasons you might suspect.

Read on to discover the guilty ingredient.

Researchers have published their findings in the online journal Clinical Infections Disease, that link the 2009 E. coli cookie dough breakout to tainted flour in Nestlé's Toll House ready-to-bake cookie dough.

Though it's still unknown exactly which ingredient was to blame, "flour is the prime suspect after a detailed traceback investigation, since the other ingredients--including eggs--underwent a `kill step' to eliminate germs."

Additionally peculiar is that previous E. coli outbreaks have been linked to "fresh" foods like ground meat and melons; this is apparently the first spread by a pre-packaged food.

There's no need to put flour on your do-not-eat list. According to Discover Magazine, "Physician William Schaffner tells ABC News that labeling it "risky" may be a bit of a stretch, saying it's similar to eating a rare or medium rare steak."

It's still advised to avoid eating raw cookie dough at home with raw eggs possibly containing Salmonella. If you are a young female, or parent of one, keep reading. Of the 77 affected in 2009, "(which affected 77 people and sent about half to the hospital), two-thirds were under the age of 19 and 71 percent were female."

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jennifer Woods
Contact: Jennifer Woods