FDA: don’t eat raw cookie dough

“If you’re wondering why our country seems so bizarrely fearful, here’s the answer: We absolutely cannot understand that risk is inherent in everything, even things that are outrageously safe, like eating cookie dough.” [Lenore Skenazy]


  • I guess some people need reminding that everything is potentially dangerous. Eating chocolate might make you fat and more susceptible to disease. Eating peanuts could kill you (if you have allergies). Driving a car can be unsafe. And eating cookie dough, raw seafood and eggs, and undercooked meat can make you sick in the wrong circumstances.

    Perhaps we should be satisfied with an overall statement: “life is inherently risky.” But, we should also be permitted to know the risks and be able to assess them ourselves. I think the government should publish a chart that shows the probability that X will cause Y harm. Why not? It might only encompass 1 or 2 billion activities, cross-referenced with 1 or 2 million risk factors.

    If you have terminal cancer and are going to die in two weeks, is smoking, getting drunk, or eating raw oysters going to be your biggest worry? Probably not. On the other hand, if you are a parent of an infant, you might want to take simple steps to have the baby sleep safely on its back to prevent the unlikely event of a tragedy.

    Risk mitigation requires knowledge. Let’s encourage getting the information out.

    On the other hand, why can’t we all agree that the government should not emulate chicken little?

    • “I guess some people need reminding that everything is potentially dangerous.”

      Life is a terminal disease, 100% fatality rate.

      “On the other hand, why can’t we all agree that the government should not emulate chicken little?”

      Because there are a lot of control freaks out there working with an army of rent seekers looking to make a profit off the panic. They have a highly vested interest in a interventionist, no problem too small, nanny state government.

      • Yeah, it’s completely ridiculous that the agency in charge of food safety would warn the people paying their salaries about widespread bacterial contamination in a common household food product and then let people make their own assessment of the risk to decide whether to modify their behavior accordingly. It’s not like monitoring situations like this and advising the public is literally their job or anything. Would you really prefer they ignore the problem?

        • “Would you really prefer they ignore the problem?”

          What problem, how many people die from eating raw cookie dough? How many people get sick.

          The government has limited resources. They would do more total good concentrating those resources on the largest problems rather than taking a “no problem too small to address” attitude.

  • More people, by orders of magnitude, will die of diabetes from eating the govt-propagated diet than will die from eating cookie dough. The FDA clearly has more budget than it needs.

  • “widespread bacterial contamination”. Cite that or shut up.