[NAFEX] The Case of the 'Poisonous' Pawpaw Cookies

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Wed Jul 20 06:42:31 EDT 2005

It's very odd to get food poisoning from cookies.  Everything has  
been cooked, and then it is both sweet and dry, which isn't terribly  
conducive to bacterial growth.  Is there any chance you put the  
finished cookies on a contaminated surface?  That would be my guess.


On Jul 19, 2005, at 6:00 PM, Lucky Pittman wrote:

> Wondered if anyone else has experienced anything like this?
> On Sunday night, my daughter was cooking up a batch of chocolate chip
> cookies to mail to our son who's off at college for the summer.  I'd
> defrosted the freezer on Saturday evening and had pulled out a  
> container of
> frozen pawpaw pulp, from fruits collected last fall, so while the  
> oven was
> hot, I decided to make a batch of pawpaw cookies.
> Followed a recipe I got off one of the pawpaw sites on the Internet -
> flour, butter, sugar, eggs, pawpaw pulp - and I put in a cup of  
> chopped
> hickory nuts.  Was still too soupy to suit me, so I folded in a cup of
> oats.  Made at least a couple dozen cookies and a half-dozen muffins.
> Baked 'em up, and, as was the case with the last batch I'd made  
> several
> years ago, they were OK, but had more of a cake/bread consistency  
> than I
> really care for in a cookie.  Daughter liked them OK, but I didn't  
> send any
> of them on to the son.  I ate one hot out of the oven, and had a  
> couple for
> breakfast the next morning(Monday).
> Here's where the trouble starts - and if you're not into  
> discussions of
> bodily functions, perhaps you should hit the 'delete' button now.
> Monday morning, I had some abdominal cramping, and a slight case of  
> the big
> 'D'.  That seemed to pass, and I made it through the day just
> fine.  Discussed the cookies with one of my co-workers, and she said,
> "Well, if they're not going to eat 'em at home, bring 'em on in -  
> we'll eat
> anything!"
> Had a pawpaw cookie for dessert after supper on Monday.  Woke up on  
> Tuesday
> with strong abdominal cramps, and the worst case (sorry, folks) of  
> diarrhea
> I've had in 30 years.  Got to feeling better after 2 or 3 hours - good
> enough to come on in to work - and brought the cookies in with me,  
> and left
> them on the break table, where folks quickly started pilfering them.
> Within an hour, people were becoming nauseous, and before we 'made the
> connection', at least a dozen people were sick, with symptoms  
> ranging from
> nausea to vomiting to abdominal cramping and diarrhea.  Called my  
> daughter
> at home, and yes, she'd had some GI distress after eating the  
> cookies, but
> hadn't mentioned it to anyone.
> Retrieved the last few cookies and disposed of them, but it may be  
> some
> time before some of these folks eat anything else that I cook,  
> especially
> if it's something out of the ordinary - like made with persimmons,
> mulberries, juneberries, etc.  Looks like everyone will survive,  
> but I bet
> I'll have a hard time getting 'em to try C.mas or Che fruit in the  
> future.
> The toxicologist teased me about running an extract of my cookies  
> through
> the GC/MS instrument to see what toxin I'd dosed everyone with.
> Maybe someone in the bioterrorism business would be interested in  
> my recipe?
> Has anyone else experienced gastrointestinal disturbances in  
> themselves, or
> other folks whom you've shared pawpaws with?
> Lucky Pittman
> USDA Cold Zone 6
> AHS Heat Zone 7
> Hopkinsville, KY
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