The cookie dough monster

In Health & Lifestyles on December 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm

By: Jordan Brown

            Everyone is guilty of sneaking a piece of raw cookie dough after mom said not to, but really who has ever gotten sick from the harmless treat? More people than you might. Raw cookie dough, homemade or pre-packaged, should not be consumed. It’s hard to believe that the gooey delight everyone has indulged in once or twice can be harmful.

            In 2009 during the infamous E-coli breakout, it was believed that only one specific producer of raw cookie dough was to blame for the spread of disease, but recently it has been found that no matter what brand, all raw cookie dough is bad.   The real culprit, in both the E-coli cases and illness’ today caused by raw cookie dough, is flour. Previously it was thought to be raw eggs contaminating people with E-coli and other sicknesses. The flour found in almost all brands of cookie dough does not go though any “cleansing process”.

            “It didn’t undergo any specific processing to kill pathogens, so we feel that’s the most likely suspect for what may have introduced contamination into the cookie dough. We couldn’t prove it conclusively, but that’s what we suspect,” Dr. Karen Neil, a medical professional from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), said.

            Most companies have clearly stated on their packages: DO NOT CONSUME RAW.        When cookie dough from that brightly colored holiday package is consumed, there is a chance of messing with some pretty powerful bacteria. These bacteria can cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The same principles apply for baked goodies like cake batter and biscuit mix. Consuming any of these raw can result in the same nasty symptoms of E-coli and salmonella. Although cookie dough can be harmful, it isn’t necessary to stay away from things like Dippin’ Dots cookie dough dots, or just regular cookie dough ice cream. These products all use pasteurized flour so no harmful bacteria is present.


It’s hard not to eat those tempting treats before popping them in the oven, but try to refrain. The cookie dough, cake and biscuit dough pre-made or homemade is dangerous, whether it’s the flour or raw eggs that make you sick. Raw cookie should not be consumed this holiday season.  “If the package says cook it, cook it,” David Hirshwerk, MD, stated. But leaving the cookies for Santa could mean the difference between a nice holiday at home and a trip the emergency room.


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