Who hasn't peeked into the fridge, spied a container of cookie dough mix, and been tempted to stick a finger into it to get a little taste? Well, don't give in to the temptation, or else you may succumb to food poisoning as well.
We got some disturbing proof of this in 2009, when 77 people in 30 states got sick after eating a particular brand of packaged raw cookie dough, which turned out to be contaminated with E.coli. Thirty-five people had to be hospitalized, and eventually 3.5 million packages of the dough had to be recalled [sources: Mann, Neil et al.]. That's because raw cookie dough is designed to be baked before it is eaten, and isn't subjected to the same pathogen-eliminating manufacturing processes that ready-to-eat food gets.
"As tempting as it is to sample cookie dough, do not veer from the recommendations on the package," Dr. David Hirschwerk, an infectious disease doctor at North Shore University Long Island Jewish Hospital in Manhasset, New York, told WebMD. If you really, really like the idea of cookie dough, get yourself some cookie dough-flavored ice cream, which is completely safe [source: Jaslow].
Author's Note: 10 Most Overlooked Food Safety Guidelines
I've always been concerned about avoiding food poisoning, ever since a nasty bout of vomiting from some spoiled orange juice laid me low when I was a young bachelor. Even so, I was shocked to realize how many of these basic precautions I've been neglecting all these years.
More Great Links
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HowStuffWorks finds out why five common foods are best kept outside the refrigerator, including bread and potatoes.