Cookie Dough E. Coli Outbreak Comes at the Worst Time

Cookie doughCookie doughPut down the cookie dough! Nice and slow, that's right. Okay. Now back away. Phew! I just saved your life! In case you haven't heard, there's a cruel foodborne pathogen plot going on right now -- clearly orchestrated by The Grinch -- involving E. coli showing up in raw cookie dough. Really? During the holidays? That ain't cool.

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Now wait, you're probably thinking. E. coli? In cookie dough? Personally, I always thought salmonella was the thing to worry about in cookie dough (raw eggs). Not that salmonella is any fun, either. So where does the E. coli come from?

Researchers aren't entirely sure, but they think raw flour might be the culprit. Apparently, unlike eggs, sugar, or baking soda, flour doesn't go through any sort of pasteurization process. Cooking the flour is the only way to kill off any potentially lingering yuckies.

Argh. How are we supposed to get through the Season of Baked Goods with the burden of this new and frightening knowledge? Of course it's easy enough to put the kibosh on raw cookie dough consumption in your household, but think of all the pie plates and rolling pins and cutting boards you'll be dousing with clouds of flour over the next few weeks. Time to trade in the apron for a hazmat suit?

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No, no, no. As with any scary food poisoning outbreak, once we get over the initial freakout we'll just be a little bit more careful: We'll wash our hands more often after handling flour. Maybe we'll be more fastidious about cleaning up spills.

But does E. coli in dough spell the end of holiday cookie madness? As Jimmy Fallon would say, Ho, ho, HELL NO!

Have you ever gotten sick from eating raw cookie dough?

Image via Nick Ares/Flickr

Written by Jacqueline Burt for CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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