Skip to main content
Accessibility  |  About  |  Contact  |  Privacy  |  Terms

Is Ready to Bake Cookie Dough Safe to Eat

  • Published: 2011-12-09 (Revised/Updated 2014-02-03) : Infectious Diseases Society of America (www.idsociety.org).
  • Synopsis: Study finds ready to bake cookie dough not safe to eat before being baked due to e. coli as flour does not ordinarily undergo a step to kill pathogens that may be present.
Cookie Dough
A blend of cookie ingredients which has been mixed into a malleable form which has not yet been hardened by heat. The dough is often then separated and the portions baked to individual cookies, or eaten as is. Cookie dough can be homemade or bought pre-made in packs (frozen logs, buckets, etc.). Desserts containing cookie dough, such as ice cream, candy, and milkshake are also frequently marketed. Because of the presence of raw egg, consumption of uncooked cookie dough increases the possibility of contracting the foodborne illness salmonellosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly discourages the consumption of all food products containing raw egg because of this threat. Cookie dough designed specifically for eating raw (such as that found in ice cream) is made either without raw egg or with pasteurized eggs and is safe to eat. In June 2009, the FDA issued a recall for Nestle Cookie Dough for potentially dangerous amounts of E. coli. There have been more than 7,000 cases of E. coli poisoning linked to this cookie dough, but none of the cases were fatal.

Main Document

Quote: "foods containing raw flour should be considered as possible vehicles of infection of future outbreaks of STEC."

Ready-to-bake cookie dough not ready-to-eat, study of E. coli outbreak finds - Consumer education and manufacturing changes may help prevent illness.

The investigation of a 2009 multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), an important cause of bacterial gastrointestinal illness, led to a new culprit: ready-to-bake commercial prepackaged cookie dough.

Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online, a new report describing the outbreak offers recommendations for prevention, including a stronger message for consumers: Don't eat prepackaged cookie dough before it's baked.

The report's authors, led by Karen Neil, MD, MSPH, and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at state health departments, reached two key conclusions:

During the 2009 outbreak, 77 patients with illnesses were identified in 30 states, and 35 people were hospitalized.

Previous E. coli-related food-borne illnesses have been associated with ground beef, leafy green vegetables, sprouts, melons, salami, and unpasteurized apple cider. The 2009 investigation, which involved extensive traceback, laboratory, and environmental analysis, led to a recall of 3.6 million packages of the cookie dough. However, no single source, vehicle, or production process associated with the dough could be identified for certain to have contributed to the contamination.

Dr. Neil and colleagues suspected that one of the ingredients used to produce the dough was contaminated. Their investigation didn't conclusively implicate flour, but it remains the prime suspect. They pointed out that a single purchase of contaminated flour might have been used to manufacture multiple lots and varieties of dough over a period of time as suggested by the use-by dates on the contaminated product.

Flour does not ordinarily undergo a "kill step" to kill pathogens that may be present, unlike the other ingredients in the cookie dough like the pasteurized eggs, molasses, sugar, baking soda, and margarine. Chocolate was also not implicated in this outbreak since eating chocolate chip cookie dough was less strongly associated with these illnesses when compared with consuming other flavors of cookie dough, according to Dr. Neil.

The study authors conclude that "foods containing raw flour should be considered as possible vehicles of infection of future outbreaks of STEC." Manufacturers should consider using heat-treated or pasteurized flour, in ready-to-cook or ready-to-bake foods that may be consumed without cooking or baking, despite label statements about the danger of such risky eating practices, the authors conclude. In addition, manufacturers should consider formulating ready-to-bake prepackaged cookie dough to be as safe as a ready-to-eat food item.

Eating uncooked cookie dough appears to be a popular practice, especially among adolescent girls, the study authors note, with several patients reporting that they bought the product with no intention of actually baking cookies. Since educating consumers about the health risks may not completely halt the habit of snacking on cookie dough, making the snacks safer may be the best outcome possible.

Similar Topics

1 - Best Way to Cook Mushrooms to Maintain Nutritional Value - FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.
2 - How to Get Rid of Cooked Cabbage Odor in House - Disabled World.
3 - Is Ready to Bake Cookie Dough Safe to Eat - Infectious Diseases Society of America.
4 - Always Read Food Labels and Cooking Instructions - U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
5 - Kellogg's Challenge to Think Outside the Cereal Box - Kellogg Canada Inc..
From our Cooking Tips and Hints section - Full List (14 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.



1 - Delta Introduces Enhanced Requirements for Customers Traveling with Service or Support Animals
2 - Virtual Reality Goes Magnetic with Electronic 'Skin' Sensors
3 - The Enormous Impact of Home Evictions on Mental Health
4 - Genes That Repair the Spinal Cord in Fish Are Also Present in Humans
5 - Slight Fluctuations in Movement Correspond to Autism Diagnoses



Citation


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.