By Karen Roush, MS, RN, FNP-C, AJN clinical managing editor
I admit it. For me, the best part of baking chocolate chip cookies is eating the raw dough. I know there’s a risk for a food-borne illness, but it’s hard to resist at least one mouthful—well, maybe two—of that combination of brown sugar, butter, and chocolate chips. Now, just in time for the holiday baking season, there’s even more evidence that taking that bite is not such a great idea.
A recent study by Neil and colleagues found that a 2009 outbreak of Escherichia coli was associated with eating raw cookie dough: 77 people across multiple states came down with an E. coli O157:H7 infection. The researchers found the common exposure was to a ready-to-bake, prepackaged cookie dough that the patients had eaten raw. They believe the most likely culprit in the dough was contaminated flour. (The researchers note that flour has been implicated in food-borne Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks in the past.)
So, when educating patients about safety this holiday season, remind them that food products meant to be cooked or baked should never be eaten raw. As for me, this holiday I think I’ll head to the bakery and stay out of temptation’s way.
What other holiday safety tips have you got for patients?