One of the most universally agreed upon facts in the world is that raw cookie dough is delicious. But it can also make you sick, though the ingredient to blame may be a surprise: In study published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, researchers linked the 2009 outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 to tainted flour in Nestlé’s Toll House ready-to-bake cookie dough. Although they haven’t conclusively pinpointed the culprit, flour is the prime suspect after a detailed traceback investigation, since the other ingredients—including eggs—underwent a “kill step” to eliminate germs. In homemade cookie dough, eggs remain a possible source of contamination, particularly from Salmonella.
The European Food Safety Authority has released a scientific report on the deadly E. coli outbreak that has sickened more than 3,500 people and killed at least 44 in the last seven weeks, and the news is grim: the apparent source of the contamination, a shipment of fenugreek seeds from Egypt, has been scattered all across the continent, making recall tricky and new outbreaks likely until the seed packets reach their expiration date in three years. Maryn McKenna of Superbug expertly breaks down the report in all its chilling detail: