Despite oft-heard and dire warnings from your mother about why you shouldn't eat raw cookie dough, admit it—you eat it anyway, and you've probably never gotten salmonella poisoning. In Slate, LV Anderson explains why. By her own estimation she's probably consumed 360 raw eggs over the course of her life, thanks to a love of baking and the inevitable batter-licking that follows. Yet she's never gotten sick from it, because the truth is that "salmonella in eggs has always been rare, and it’s gotten even rarer since I was a kid" in the 1990s, she writes.
In the mid- to late 1980s, tainted eggs killed dozens in the US—but those outbreaks prompted egg producers to voluntarily institute new safety protocols that were incredibly successful, and later, federal restrictions got tighter, too. Plus, even infected hens only rarely produce infected eggs, and that fear about an eggshell possibly being contaminated with salmonella? "Unfounded." Last but not least, most home consumers keep their eggs constantly refrigerated, thus preventing any salmonella bacteria from growing—so on the extremely slim chance that an infected egg did get into your batter, it's highly unlikely the raw portion that ends up in your mouth would have any bacteria in it. And if it does? As long as you're healthy, there's a decent chance you won't get sick anyway. Click for Anderson's full column.