Food safety has become a major concern for all of us. In the past several months, we have witnessed peanut butter and pistachio nuts being pulled from supermarket shelves to protect us from disease. Now, we learn that one of America’s most sacred treasures – the chocolate chip cookie- is under fire. What’s next? Apple pie?
Nestlé enjoys an excellent reputation for quality control, unlike the peanut plant in Georgia which practically appointed Salmonella to management positions. Nestlé voluntarily recalled its raw cookie dough, which has been linked to E. coli infection in 6 individuals. These infected chip lovers all ate the dough raw, never an advisable practice.
This strain of E. coli can threaten international travelers also. In the last several months, outbreaks have occurred in Canada, the Netherlands and Norway. This germ is not the same strain that causes typical traveler’s diarrhea. This infection can be severe and lead to kidney failure. Travelers can reduce their risks of E. coli by insisting on throughly cooked meat and pasteurized milk and juices. If the fruit hasn’t been washed, then go fruitless. For obvious reasons, choose reputable restaurants which are more likely to perform safe hygienic practices.
Is this strain of E.coli a tourist in your destination? Consult with your travel doctor in advance of your departure who is up-to-date on worldwide disease activity and trends. There is no vaccine for E. coli, but you can reduce your risk with many common sense precautions. Eat and drink carefully. When you are on your trip far from home, and you are craving a chocolate chip cookie, go for it. Just remember to order your cookies well done, not raw or medium rare.