Cookie dough is manufactured, packaged, and sold for the purpose of baking. However, it is widely known that people will sample the prepackaged, uncooked dough, often preferring it to the finished cookies. Hence the reason that many ice cream manufacturers have developed varieties that include chunks of cookie dough.
Four companies have been forced to pull their cookie dough products from store shelves after it was discovered that many samples were contaminated with listeria. The nasty bacteria that can cause serious illness or even death, forced Blue Bunny, Blue Bell, Chocolate Shoppe, and Publix to pull the products and to release wide scale product recalls. Of course, in many cases, it was not packaged cookie dough, but rather the ice cream containing cookie dough pieces that was pulled from store shelves. This is not the first recall for Blue Bunny Creameries. They have already had to issue a recall for the very same reason in the recent past.
Proper testing and storage of food products can greatly reduce the chances that a recall of this magnitude will be necessary. Ultimately, the upfront cost of product testing in controlled conditions can save a company large sums of money that would be lost as a result of having to destroy hundreds or thousands of units taken straight from store shelves, and that is not even accounting for the money paid in refunds to consumers.
This can be achieved by implementing environmental chambers. SRP supplies such chambers, which can be used to subject the product — in this case cookie dough — to specific temperatures for extended periods of time. Tests can be run during these times to determine the rate- and type of bacterial growth.
The supplier of the cookie dough, Aspen Hills, is now facing serious investigation, which has already revealed improper testing of their product. There was inadequate documentation, failure to wear proper protective equipment, and the possibility of cross-contamination listed in the reports thus far.