Yesterday, I planned to write a blistering takedown of the FDA’s latest consumer update, a document bearing the laughable title “Raw Dough’s a Raw Deal and Could Make You Sick.” I even had two working headlines, “FDA Warns Against Raw Cookie Dough But Life is Short Go Hard” and “Chickenshit FDA Issues Raw Cookie Dough ‘Warning.” Alas, I can no longer go forward.
The advisory itself was issued after an E. coli outbreak connected to tainted flour sickened 38 people, giving them symptoms ranging from stomach cramps to bloody diarrhea. Weighed against the joy raw cookie dough blesses upon tens of millions each year, a few dozen souls banished to bathroom hell seemed like a classic case of acceptable risk.
Over the course of my research, I came across the story of Linda Rivera, an otherwise healthy Las Vegas mother who was hospitalized after eating “a few bites” of contaminated cookie dough in 2009, eventually suffering brain injury and having much of her large intestines removed.
After battling medical complications for three more painful years, Rivera died.
Raw cookie dough is delicious and compared to say, driving a car every day, not especially risky. Still, it’s probably “not worth it” as Rivera said, given the potential severity of illness. With that it mind, take care when handling raw flour products like cookie dough, only consuming them after they’re cooked and washing your hands after contact. If you want some cookie dough, is an actual cookie so bad?