E. coli outbreaks traced to raw flour | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


For Daily Use

Step away from the cookie dough. E. coli outbreaks traced to raw flour

One recent outbreak of foodborne illness was tied to bacteria in flour from a single facility

By
5:00pm, November 22, 2017
bowl of cookie batter

DOUGH DEBACLE  In 2015 and 2016, E. coli-tainted flour sickened dozens of people in the United States, most of whom had eaten raw dough or batter while baking. 

Eggs, long condemned for making raw cookie dough a forbidden pleasure, can stop taking all the blame. There’s another reason to resist the sweet uncooked temptation: flour.

The seemingly innocuous pantry staple can harbor strains of E. coli bacteria that make people sick. And, while not a particularly common source of foodborne illness, flour has been implicated in two E. coli outbreaks in the United States and Canada in the last two years.

Pinning down tainted flour as the source of the U.S. outbreak, which sickened 63 people between December 2015 and September 2016, was trickier than the average food poisoning investigation, researchers recount November 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Usually, state health departments rely on standard questionnaires to find a common culprit for a cluster of

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More Health articles

From the Nature Index Paid Content