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

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Wed Jul 20 11:29:33 EDT 2005

At 05:42 AM 7/20/2005, you wrote:
>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.
Agreed.  Everything about the situation suggests a pre-formed toxin, that 
was evidently heat-stabile, or at least for the 15 minutes the cookies were 
baked.  Sounds very much like Staphylococcal enterotoxin B, which fits 
those criteria.  The eggs looked OK.  I suppose the pawpaw pulp might be 
the offending source, as it was thawed at room temperature overnight (I 
forgot to stick it in the fridge to thaw.).  I'm pretty adamant about 
thawing meats in the fridge, rather than at room temp, but never considered 
the pawpaw pulp as a major threat.

>Is there any chance you put the finished cookies on a contaminated surface?
No, they remained on the cookie sheet from the time they came out of the 
oven until I put them in a new, clean plastic bag to bring them in to the 


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