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Eating raw cookie can cause infections

Researchers warn that raw ready-to-bake cookie dough may carry pathogens like E. coli eating of which may cause severe intestinal infections.

Scientists who investigated the first US national outbreak of E. coli found that the habit of snacking on uncooked, pre-packaged cookie dough caused infections in many victims.

The 2009 outbreak of the food-borne illness infected 77 people in 30 states with 35 patients becoming so ill that needed to be hospitalized.

After studying 36 patients and 36 control cases from 18 different states, researchers found that eating a particular brand of cookie dough was the only thing significantly linked to the illness.

"Consumption of cookie dough," researchers wrote, "appears to be a popular practice, especially among adolescent females."

Reportedly, from the patients who contracted E. coli from eating cookie dough, 66 percent were under 19 years old and 71 were female. Some of the interviewed people even said they never baked the cookie when they bought it.

Investigators also detected E. coli in samples collected directly from the manufacturing plants, a finding which led to the recall of 3.6 million packages of cookie dough of an unidentified brand.

Although the researchers were unable to determine which ingredient or part of the manufacturing process was responsible for the contamination, they suspect that people became ill due to consumption of raw contaminated flour.

"What our report shows is that you shouldn't eat cookie dough raw, no matter where it comes from," said lead author Dr. Karen Neil, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). " supposed to be baked."

Researchers even suggested people to avoid consuming raw cookie dough, whether it's made at home or as a commercial product.

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