At the beginning of this year, NYC raw cookie dough shop Dō made headlines for selling a safe-to-eat cookie dough. Unfortunately, some customers are claiming that the treat isn’t as free from food-borne pathogens as it claims to be.
The lawsuit was filed in a Manhattan federal court after plaintiffs Julia Canigiani and Lauren Byrne ate at the popular establishment, according to Bloomberg. Canigiani got a cookie dough ice cream sandwich, while Byrne got a scoop of M&M’s cookie dough. The suit then claims that Canigiani got sick within 15 minutes, experiencing stomach pains, nausea, and diarrhea. Byrne also was afflicted with a stomach ache, heartburn, and nausea.
As proof that it wasn’t just them getting sick, the two plaintiffs also cited eight Yelp reviews where people claimed to get sick from the cookie dough. It’s unclear whether the veracity of those reviews was verified first, however.
Dō claims that their products are perfectly safe to consume and that they stand behind their claims. Their dough is made with heat-treated flour and pasteurized egg, which should eliminate primary food safety concerns regarding food-borne pathogens. Of course, there are other vectors for possible contamination. Since Canigiani reported falling ill within 15 minutes, the only bacteria that can cause disease close to that time limit is Staphylococcus aureus, which is linked to improper food handling. Not even salmonella, which requires a 6 hour incubation period in the stomach, comes close to Canigiani’s time window.
It is also possible that something else the plaintiffs ate triggered the food poisoning around the same time that they went to the cookie dough store. However, it’s unknown what else the two of them ate that day or on previous days, so it would be hard to tell.
Regardless, if the plaintiffs win their lawsuit and Dō is proven to have been at fault, it could cause damages exceeding $5 million, which is what the lawsuit claims is the “aggregate amount in controversy.”