The “cow to cookie” mystery has yet to be solved. We speak of course about how E. coli O157:H7, which usually originates in the hindgut of cows, made its way into raw refrigerated cookie dough made at the Nestle plant in Danville, VA.
While you are waiting for the answer, you might want to read the paperback edition of Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life by science writer Carl Zimmer which is being published this month.
In his Discovery Magazine blog, Zimmer makes this prediction: “There’s no official word for how the bacteria got from a cow to a cookie (or at least, a cookie in the making). But chances are good that the story is going to be complicated, in a way that’s both disturbing and fascinating.”
It’s well worth checking out, even if the thought that cookie E. coli might has “evolved its own peculiar set of genes” is a whole lot more scary than any cookie monster.
As of the last report, which is now a week and day old, 72 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint have been reported from 30 states.